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Thursday 13 August 2009

How to stand out in a job interview – calm and collected, or quirky and memorable?

It is fair to say that competition for jobs is fierce. Yesterday’s announcement that unemployment has reached its highest point since 1995 is enough to instil fear into even the most confident of job searchers.

Yet despite these horrifying and well publicised statistics, many professionals within the recruitment industry, including ourselves, are reporting a quiet but significant increase in the number of jobs that are becoming available. So, never a better time for those looking for work to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and refine their interview technique.

Employment success is often down to the applicant standing out in the interview. In recent months we are hearing of more jobs applicants who are going into interviews with a quirky strategy to get themselves remembered.

I have heard of one applicant that was so determined to stand out that he began the interview by ceremoniously presenting the interviewer with a pineapple. Sure, he was remembered - but not necessarily for the right reasons.

A sense of humour and a creative idea may only serve to evoke a quick chuckle from the interviewer before he stumps you with question on company policy. Having said this, a well thought out gimmick which is quirky, but RELEVANT could potentially work in your favour.

When applying for a marketing job with a major pizza restaurant chain we have heard the tale of an applicant who went into the interview with a pizza box which contained his CV, ‘brag file’ and a detailed presentation and business plan for the role. Needless to say, the interviewer was impressed and he got the job.

The candidate demonstrated initiative and enthusiasm as well as a strong knowledge of company branding. BUT, it was for a marketing and branding job and creative ideas such as this are not the only way earn success in an interview.

Merit alone can be far more appealing to a potential employer than a random gimmick which could scream of the candidates’ desperation.

Above all, interviewers are looking for applicants who are well versed, professional and enthusiastic. Therefore, make sure you are prepared, appropriately dressed and engaging and you will stand out far more than if you go to an interview with a well rehearsed comedy routine.

Stand out for the RIGHT reasons, and take advantage of increasing employment opportunities.

For further interview tips visit our Career Tools section with tens of ideas to increase your interview skills and sales success.

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