Insider Tips: How to Stand Out in Your Next Job Interview

It’s not the will to win that matters. Everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.

Paul “Bear” Bryant
[4-min read]

In my 22 years of corporate leadership roles, I sat across from hundreds of job applicants. Each one wanted to make a memorable impression.

Interestingly, those who truly stood out weren't necessarily the ones with a perfect resume or flawless presentation skills.

Instead, it was the candidates who demonstrated their dedication by taking time to prepare well.

They gave thoughtful answers that aligned with the job description. They asked insightful questions showing they’d researched the company.

Their genuine interest made it clear how much they wanted the job.

One candidate interviewing for a developer job talked about how his unique experience made him well-suited to handle the role’s challenges at the company.

He asked specific questions about our tech stack and recent work. It was clear he’d done his homework. And it turned the interview into a conversation about future projects he could potentially lead.

Research from organizational psychology studies, found in the Journal of Applied Psychology and Harvard Business Review, shows that candidates who prepare thoroughly are more confident and seen as more competent.

This perception is key because it influences hiring choices beyond just qualifications and experience.

For instance, a Society for Human Resource Management study found that well-prepared candidates are viewed as potential leaders who can join the team smoothly and effectively. They show foresight and initiative — qualities you want in any new hire.

Many people are intimidated by the interview process, and it makes sense why. Not only do you have to “perform” in a competition, but there’s a lot at stake too.

Good preparation changes all that. When you feel well-prepared, you’re more likely to come across as confident.

I created an infographic on interview preparation. It’s packed with straightforward tips on how to answer typical questions and what to ask the interviewer.

Click the image to download a PDF version. Want all 50 of my best infographics? They’re here.

Making it Work for You

Use these 5 practical tips to change your interview from a stressful experience into an impressive performance:

  1. Research Thoroughly

    Don't just read the company's "About Us" page. Find recent news stories, financial reports, and industry trends that impact the company. This demonstrates you’re knowledgeable and take initiative.

  2. Customize Your Responses

    Adapt your answers to reflect the company’s values and the specific position. Use the job description as a guide to emphasize how your abilities and experience are an ideal match for their requirements.

  3. Practice Out Loud

    Practice your responses, but also make sure they’re adaptable enough to suit the conversation flow. Rehearsing with a friend or mentor can offer insights that improve your delivery.

  4. Prepare Insightful Questions

    Demonstrate your deep understanding and interest by asking insightful questions about the position, team, and upcoming projects. Avoid questions with answers that are available on the company’s website.

  5. Follow Up

    After the interview, send a customized thank you note. Reference specific topics covered in the interview to highlight your excitement and suitability for the position. You’d be surprised how few people do this.

Diving Deeper

Check out these resources to further improve your interview skills:

Online Courses: Coursera has some fantastic free online courses for both beginners and advanced learning. 3 of the best:

Book: 60 Seconds and You’re Hired by Robin Ryan offers strategies to turn job interviews into job offers with practical advice and examples.

Podcast: The Job Interview Experience provides actionable job search guidance from industry experts.

Connecting the Dots

Mastering the interview isn't just about getting hired—it's about showing you're ready to contribute from the start. Thorough preparation demonstrates your qualifications, commitment, and enthusiasm for the role and company.

Keep in mind that every interview is a chance to learn and grow, regardless of the result. The energy you invest in preparing now lays the groundwork for you to land your dream job.

Until next week, keep shining, my friend.


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