Preparing for an interview for a job you really, really want can be emotional, stressful, exhilarating, and just about everything in between. Trying to decide who you want to be, or at least how you want to portray yourself is a challenge that seems like only the luckiest can figure out how to succeed at. Although professionalism is always essential to a good interview, the best person you can be when your name is called and you sit down across from the hiring manager is simple. It’s you.
It’s Okay to be a Little Weird
When you do sit down for the interview, take a deep breath and remember that you have something to offer. Hiring managers are not looking for a cookie cutter to fill the position. Rather, they are in search of someone with many unique talents and experiences that they can bring to the table. These are characteristics that help provide different perspectives, more efficient ways to doing things, and creative solutions to big problems.
For instance, did you complete college online? Did you study abroad? Did you study online while abroad? These are great conversation points during an interview because they make you stand out from the crowd. Life events such as these tend to change your perspective in a number of surprising ways, which can be massive assets to any company. Simply because these experiences aren’t the norm for applicants, doesn’t mean they haven’t given you incredibly powerful skills such as improved cross-cultural communication or time management.
More Variety Equals More Success
As the world continues to become more connected, various skill sets are beginning to clash. Successful job applicants no longer rely simply upon the hard and fast tools of the trade, but are now exhibiting their differing combinations of skills that make them the most qualified candidate. These potential employees are the ones displaying much higher levels of innovation, which is highly rewarded in many of the most successful companies.
The perfect example of this is in modern day hospitals. With the legislative passage of a number of new healthcare policies, many hospitals are scrambling to update their systems and create a more technologically advanced health records system. This idea has branched into calls for healthcare providers that are not only passionate about human health and safety, but also technologically savvy. Candidates that are able to express both sets of skills in an interview are much more likely to be hired.
Make Sure you’re Comfortable
Ultimately, company culture can play a major factor in whether or not innovation and creative ideas brought about by different life experiences are accepted. While in an interview, use these experiences as examples of how you manage stress or have solved a difficult problem and gauge how hiring managers are responding. It can be a powerful way to identify if the company holds the same ideals as you and if you’d be a good fit.
Furthermore, interviews are your chance to interview the company as well. Don’t be afraid to ask your interviewer questions about the things within the company that are important to you. Doing so can help you gain more knowledge about the inner workings of the business as well as prove that you are an engaged potential new hire that cares about the job.
Sharing some of your real personality and experiences during an interview will help you make a more memorable impression with the hiring manager than if you attempt to act how you think they want you to. Additionally, using these experiences to answer questions can set you apart by showing that you are an innovative thinker. Since more jobs are searching for mixed skill sets, never leave a quality about you out that could potentially be useful in your day to day workflow.
About the Author: Brittni Brown is a recent graduate of The College of Idaho. In her free time she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and rafting.
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