The Container Store

Three Tips for Standing Out in a Job Interview

  • Mar 17, 2017
  • Eva Gordon, Executive Vice President of Stores and Employee Development
Three Tips for Standing Out in a Job Interview

The recruiting process often mirrors being at a dinner party. Think about the last time you were seated next to someone you didn’t know – it may have been uncomfortable trying to make conversation! But if you were lucky, you ended up next to a guest who was curious about you, offered up interesting and thought-provoking questions, and ultimately made your evening more enjoyable.

Similarly, employers want to spend time with candidates who are interesting and can market themselves. Companies love when candidates express an unwavering interest, can inspire and effectively articulate the value they could bring to the organization. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:

Show interest. Read employee reviews online, find recent news articles about the company, and engage with your potential employer via social media. Make it a two-way conversation by tweeting about the company and connecting with recruiters on LinkedIn. Sharing this information during the interview allows the interviewer to understand your level of preparation and excitement for the position. Explain how your personal values align with those of the company.

Continue to show interest in the job even after the interview is over. Some companies keep all correspondence (emails, notes, etc.) so remember to use proper grammar and thank recruiters by name. Often, when there are multiple top candidates, the ultimate decision can come down to a candidate’s follow-up.

Share your whole self. When I look for potential employees, I look for compassionate people. During an interview, I think about people holistically. There is a blending and a meshing of work and life: you are more than what you do at work, so share your interests during the interview. Do you love writing poetry? Are you a great gardener? These interests may offer an extra connection point with your interviewer. Try to share your life outside of work during the interview to provide connectivity and interesting information with your future employer.

Describe how you can add value. During the interview, think about what you can bring to the company (experience, new thought processes, creativity, etc.) instead of focusing on what the company can do for you. Think critically about what their needs may be (why are they interviewing for this position in the first place?) and what value you can bring to the organization. Have you done volunteer work in a similar environment? Have you collaborated with a team to accomplish a goal? Maybe the company is expanding, and needs more great employees to open new stores or support a major initiative. Think about what you have done in your life -- whether it was inside or outside of your career -- and how that might fit into their area of need.

Everyone wants to be around people who are inspiring, motivating, and thrive in a team atmosphere. By showing interest, sharing your whole self, and describing how you can add value, you’ll set yourself apart from the rest of the pack.