How to Stand Out From a Crowded Field of Applicants During Your Job Interview

Times are tough out there, and it seems that there are an ever growing number of people competing for an ever shrinking number of jobs. Many people send off CV's by the dozen, and rarely get to the interview stage, but those that do need to think long and hard about how they are going to stand out from everyone else who will be going for the same job. The interview is the best chance that you have to put across who you are and what you are about, and how you perform on the day is the single largest contributing factor to winning the job, or losing out to another.

It can certainly be a hard task, trying to stand out in a crowded field of applicants for a job, but there are several ways that it can be done. Before describing them, though, the most important thing to do for any job interview is to prepare. You will need to find out as much as possible about the role on offer, as well as the company it is with. Who are their customers? Who are their suppliers? How are they regarded within the industry? This type of background knowledge is crucial in not only showing that you have done your homework, but will also provide confidence in knowledge in the interview itself.

In terms of standing out at a job interview, it is vital to remember that first impressions count. That initial few seconds are critical, whether it be your general appearance, demeanour or even the handshake. When in the waiting area for an interview, you should be ready to be called in at any moment, so remain composed and prepared, as opposed to nervously flipping through the pages of a resume. Greet your interviewer with a warm, friendly smile, and speak confidently when spoken to.

Once inside the room where the interview is held, the interviewer will begin to ask a series of questions. This is the time for your passion to shine through, and you will need to make the interviewer feel this. Answer questions with a degree of enthusiasm and positivity that shows you have the dedication and focus for the job that they are looking at. Projecting a “can do” air of positivity is a great way to get interviewers onside, who will recognise that they will be able to use your energy for the benefits of the company.

What you say is of course as important as how you say it, and speaking in a way that will leave a lasting impression is a fundamental aspect to standing out from the crowd in job interviews. Sometimes, there are dozens of people in the interview stage for just one job, and whilst an interviewer will always make notes, anyone that is remembered for the right reasons without them stands a better chance of employment. Rehearsing what to say may sound a little over the top, but an interview is all about selling yourself, but a few choice sound bites that an interviewer can hone in on will certainly make you stand out over those that don't.

Whilst the majority of the time spent in an interview will be the interviewer asking questions, with the candidate answering them, it isn't necessarily all a one way street. There will be a section, where the interviewer will ask candidates if they have any questions. This is the ideal moment to again make yourself memorable by posing some tough questions of your own. If the company has been in the news recently, ask some questions relating to that, or if a competitor has been making redundancies, ask how this will have an impact on the company. The more insightful and knowledgeable you appear, the more likely you are to stand out.

Finally, work out (preferably beforehand) what sort of a person an interviewer is looking for, and adapt your answers so that they will meet their needs. If they are looking for team players and you happen to play team sports regularly then mention it; or if they are looking for team leaders and you are a referee for example, mention that also. The type of person you are in your private life can have a degree of relevance in an interview, and using examples from it in an interview can again help you stand out from the crowd and win that all important job.

Richard McMunn
Richard McMunn is the founder and director of the leading career website His aim is to help as many people as possible pass the recruitment process they are applying for to secure the job they really want. The website offers a wide range of books, dvds and courses for those who want to ensure they have every stage of the process covered. You can also connect with Richard and How2become on YouTube