As an employer, I’m always taking notes of the stand-out things people do in interviews that make them desirable candidates. Whether it’s someone’s general approach to the conversation, or a specific thing that they say, there are certain things that I look for that make me say, “Wow, they would be a great fit.” Because at the end of the day, for my organization at least, I’m not only looking for someone with the ability to perform the job’s core functions, but also someone who would seamlessly fit into our team and be a great colleague—someone that challenges us to be better, and brings a new perspective to the table.
Make the interview a conversation. I enjoy when the interviewee is equally as involved in the conversation as I am, not hanging back and waiting for the next question. This shows me that the person is genuinely engaged and curious about the role. It also shows that they’re able to hold a conversation, which is critically important in my line of business.
Have ideas. I love when someone has actually taken the time to research the organization and the role enough to share what they might do differently if they were a part of the team. Something like, “I’ve noticed that you do X, Y, and Z. Have you thought about maybe implementing A, B, and C instead?“
Don’t be afraid to discuss salary. If the listed salary is not something you’d be willing to take, talk about it. Flex your negotiation skills. For me, I see this as a potential team member showing that they can stand up for what they believe in and having the skills to negotiate what they want. Ultimately, that will be an asset to my company.
Have a good list of references. There’s nothing like a corroborating witness to seal the deal. If you feel like a good fit but need an extra tipping point, a solid reference should be able to get you there.
Send a personal follow-up note. This shows your potential employer that you’re truly interested and haven’t just moved on to the next thing. If you have any outstanding questions, as them in this email, too.