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How to Set Yourself Apart and Have a Great Interview

Bonny Calfy | May 5, 2023

Before-the-interview stress isn’t uncommon, simply because many candidates aren’t sure what to expect.

With a bit of preparation, however, you’ll be calm and relaxed because you’re ready to prove to the interviewer why your resume should go to the top of the pile.

Here are four tips to help you get ready for your next interview.

1. Get to know the organization

Take time to thoroughly explore the company’s approach to its work and industry. More innovative companies will share their mission and values on their website, making it easy to get a sense of how their values align with yours.

Besides thoroughly reading the website, look up members of the leadership team on LinkedIn or other social media. If they’re using these platforms effectively, you’ll be able to find some useful information.

Is the company civic-minded? Does it have plans for expansion? What’s the mission? Does it value skill development and promoting from within? These are just a few examples, but if you can find places where you overlap with your potential employer, you’re on the road to find a culture you can embrace and you’ll have the information you need to set yourself apart from other candidates.

2. Practice your answers

Every job is different, but a few interview questions always seem to pop up no matter where you go. Take some time to think about them and prepare answers that showcase your unique skills and experiences you bring to the table.

When the interviewer asks open-ended questions, you’ll be able to do so much more than just recite a prewritten answer. You’ll show how you can be an asset to the organization’s strategy and a good fit for its culture.

3. Try to ask follow-up questions

Treat your interview like a conversation, not an interrogation. It should be a two-way street, which means you need to be asking questions, too.

Use your time beforehand to find what they’re looking for in a candidate or about the challenging parts of this particular position. Listen to their answer and, if possible, use it as a springboard to keep the conversation moving. If you want to create a connection with your interviewer, having an authentic conversation is a great way to make this happen.

Here’s a pro tip: Avoid questions easily answered in the job description or on the company’s website. Yours should help you look insightful and interested, not like you forgot to do the bare minimum of research.

4. Don’t forget the thank-you notes

Be sure to email your interviewer within 24 hours to thank them for their time and consideration. For a more personal touch, send a handwritten note. This gesture is a great way to cement the positive impression you’ve left as the organization moves forward in its decision-making process.

If you’re on the fence about sending a thank-you note, consider this: According to TopResume research, 68% of hiring managers and recruiters say a thank-you note or email influences their hiring decision.

Your interview should be your chance to come off as someone who is unique, memorable, positive and professional. Preparation not only gives you the chance to create strong answers that demonstrate what you bring to the table; it also helps you appear more confident and relaxed. When the interview is over, you’ll have shown the interviewer you’re a strong candidate ready to move your career forward.

Ready to see what job opportunities emerge from a great interview? Apply for a position at Paycom today!

About the author
Author picture, Bonny Calfy
Bonny Calfy
As Paycom’s employer brand supervisor, Bonny Calfy oversees all recruitment marketing and employer brand efforts nationwide. Her brand awareness efforts extend over 10 years and have included launching the Paycom Careers blog and social media channels and producing recruitment videos, all to help attract top talent nationwide. Outside work, Bonny enjoys reading; fishing; and spending time with her husband, children and friends.