Why does it seem like some people have all the luck when it comes to landing a job? They apply for a job and get calls. They interview for a job and get hired. Yet, maybe for you it doesn’t seem so easy, although it never really is when you’re the one looking for a new job. The person who always gets offered the job makes it look so easy. But the truth is that it’s the hard work and preparation that happens before the interview that makes the difference.  If you really want to know the secret that strong interview candidates possess, here’s a list of the important things they do to get hired.

1. They understand their personal brand.

A great candidate believes that they are a brand. You should know what makes you unique and why you are the best candidate for the job. Having a strong personal brand means that you are clear on the value that you add to a company and portray your unique selling proposition (USP) in every way.

2. They research the company.

Research is key when it comes to doing well in an interview. Be sure to know enough about the company you are interviewing for, so that you can both answer and ask specific questions. Nothing is more impressive than a candidate who has done their research. You should know the company’s CEO, competitors, and any current newsworthy topics. You will not only impress the interviewer, but you will also be prepared to address questions beyond your resume if asked.

3. They prepare the night before.

It sounds so rudimentary, but what a difference preparation makes. It’s tough doing your research and performing on game day. Give yourself the best start by having everything you need ready the night before the interview. Get your clothes ready, print out multiple copies of your resume, directions to the interview, and anything else you may need. Lastly, make sure you get a good night’s rest, so that you feel refreshed in the morning and can get a head start without feeling stressed or rushed.

4. They dress the part.

The way you carry yourself is an important part of making a good impression at the interview.  You can have all the skills in the world, but if you are not professionally dressed, it will detract from what you have to offer. It can sometimes be confusing to know what to wear, especially since the dress code for a lot of companies is getting more relaxed. But if you are being interviewed, you should still come wearing your Sunday’s best. If you’re not sure what to wear, err on the side of being overdressed rather than under dressed. Once you get hired you can gauge what kind of attire best suits your environment.

 5. They exude confidence.

There’s nothing like showing up to an interview with confidence. Interviewers go through more resumes than they’d like to, so this is the time to add a face to your work experience. In addition to looking at your skills, an interviewer is also checking to see if your personality would be a good fit for the role. If you’re not comfortable talking about yourself, how will you be confident trying to relay information to others? When you are confident, you also let the interviewer in on how you handle stressful situations, since interviewing for a job isn’t easy.

6. They perfect their elevator pitch.

Your elevator pitch is a summary of your career and personal brand. It will come in handy when your interviewer asks you to talk about your career. Think of a clever and interesting way to summarize your experience that will capture the interviewer’s attention. Try using different ways to express your brand attributes, which are adjectives used to describe yourself. Instead of using words like “excellent communicator,” “problem-solver,” or “team player,” craft a pitch that speaks to those attributes naturally.

7. They tell good stories related to past experiences.

The key to capturing your listener’s attention is through great story telling. Use relevant stories and metaphors to talk about your past experiences. A great story will relay your strengths to the interviewer and show how you solved a problem. Make sure it’s focused, concise, and demonstrates examples of why you would be great for the role.

8. They observe the interviewer’s body language.

A strong interviewer is a master communicator. They are not only good at expressing their ideas and asking the right questions, but they also take cues well. Be mindful of the interviewer’s body language as they ask questions. If they seem to lose interest in your answer, maybe you need to get to the point quicker or ask for clarification to better answer the question. Observing the interviewer’s body language is a great way to gauge how you’re doing, which will enable you to make tweaks based on their communication style.

9. They ask about the company goals.

Being clear on the company’s goal does two things: it shows you’re interested in delivering results and confirms if their goals match the direction you would like to pursue. It’s important to show the interviewer that you’re thinking beyond just getting hired. Asking about the company’s goals and future is a great way to show how you can be a part of their vision.

10. They follow-up with a thank you letter.

Yes, thank you letters still matter. Some may say it’s a thing of the past, but it’s still an important part of closing the deal. When you send a thank you letter, it confirms to the interviewer that you are interested in the position. Don’t forget: it’s not just about the formalities of thanking the interviewer for their time, it’s also about reinforcing your skills.  A good thank you letter should include key points from the interview and link them to your ability to hit the ground running.

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