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Advice / Job Search / Interviewing

How to Be the Candidate Who Stands Out From the Rest

If you’ve landed the interview—congrats! You now have the perfect chance to get in front of a hiring manager and show him or her why you’re the right one for the job.

The best way to do that? Do something that makes you really stand out among all the other interviewees. For some good examples, we asked nine founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share a story of the single most memorable (but positive) thing a job candidate did during the interview process to shine above the rest.

Read on, and learn from their job-landing techniques.

1. He Demonstrated Drive

During an interview, an employee we were looking to hire found out we had a bit of a problem with some data analysis that didn’t directly relate to the position we were hiring him for. The next day, he sent an email back with a full expert analysis of the data which he spent hours working on. When I asked him why he did it he, said he “loves doing this stuff!” We hired him on the spot.

Liam Martin,

2. She Created a Marketing Campaign

During an interview for a marketing position, one candidate created an entire campaign—everything from how to execute and track it to the expected results. We were not only impressed, we hired her and let her run it.

Brooke Bergman, Allied Business Network Inc.

3. She Showcased Problem-Solving Abilities

I once interviewed someone who Googled me and my companies and offered up solutions for problems she thought I had. Some people may find this borderline rude, but I found it extremely helpful—and I appreciated her moxie. It takes real guts to say, “You’re not perfect;” but even more to follow up with that by saying, “And I’m the one person who can help you.” I’ll remember that forever.

Rob Fulton, Automation Heroes

4. They Illustrated Due Diligence

We seek highly strategic thinkers, not people who just want a job. They should be interviewing us, too. The most memorable candidates have reached out to multiple team members ahead of and after an interview to ask questions, and some have asked to hang out for a day to experience the culture. These proactive inquiries show they are taking us seriously and strive to make well-informed decisions.

Emily Holdman, PeopleKit

5. He Showed Initiative

A candidate for a sales position asked to prove his skills by pitching the person in the office next door, who was a senior leader at the company. What impressed me about this wasn’t the candidate’s sales pitch, but his initiative. By showing that he was fearless, unflappable, and eager, he convinced me that he had the skills to be a successful sales rep. He’s now one of our best salespeople.

John Berkowitz, Yodle

6. She Sent a Handwritten Note

I once had an interview with a woman who sent me a handwritten thank you note. At first, when I didn’t receive the usual right-away thank you email, I thought she must not have been interested in the job. But when I found that note in my mailbox a few days later, I appreciated the extra effort she took to make it more special.

Ashley Mady, Brandberry

7. She Asked Immediately

At ZinePak we are looking for people who are confident in their abilities, positive, and above all, go-getters. After asking a variety of questions, a candidate said, “When can I start?” Her eagerness to dive in, contribute, and become a part of the team was a memorable and refreshing way to end an interview.

Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

8. He Told Me Point-Blank He’d Been Fired

Usually, applicants try to spin or sugarcoat getting let go, but not this one! As we were going through his job history, he told me point-blank that he was fired and explained the mistakes he had made in that position. This actually gave me tremendous respect for the applicant, both for his honesty and his ability to take a candid look at his own performance. I snatched him up for my company!

Laura Roeder, LKR Social Media

9. He Commanded Attention

A sales candidate we had been speaking to took it upon himself to come into the city, walk in with a dozen cupcakes, and hand them to me. He did exactly what he would potentially be hired for: walking into an office and demanding attention. It demonstrated that he knew exactly what he would be doing in the role. Needless to say, he got the interview, got the job, and is now one of our top salespeople.

Alex Lorton,

Photo of people courtesy of Shutterstock.