The Obvious Choice: How to Stand Out in Job Interviews

 The Obvious Choice: How to Stand Out in Job Interviews



Getting a potential employer to read your CV amongst all the competition out there is an achievement in itself, let alone call you up for an interview. Take a moment to congratulate yourself because on paper you’ve fulfilled the essential requirements and are the ideal candidate.


Now it’s the interview. You have to create a terrific impression and make yourself seem like the only person the interview could ever seriously choose, which you do by standing out amongst the rest. If you’re applying for jobs which involve working with the public, such as customer service jobs, and even if you’re not, the following suggestions will help you to convince potential employers that you’ll be brilliant in the front line and that the rest would be, at best, mediocre:

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Visualise yourself doing the job


Before the interview, picture yourself in that role. Imagine a really fulfilling day at the office, where everything goes right and you head home at the end of the day feeling on top of the world. Think about the following questions:

– What happens during that day?

– In what ways were you excellent at doing this job?

– What parts of that successful day did you enjoy the most?

– What characteristics do you have as an individual which made that day be so great?


In your interview, remember this scenario and channel it into your answers. Convey your enthusiasm for the role in your responses. The interviewers will pick up on your enthusiasm, identifying you as an excellent candidate even if you never directly refer to this scenario itself.


Wear something distinctive


Sometimes interviewers have trouble telling the candidates apart. They’ve interviewed so many people that the faces all blur into one. This is your chance to visually set yourself apart from the other candidates for the role: wear one distinctive item of clothing. Whether it’s a beautiful leather satchel or a striking red scarf, the people interviewing you are more likely to remember you, and can pick your face out from a sea of potential candidates.


Don’t go too far out: a multi-coloured clown suit will certainly render you distinctive, but not in the way they’re looking for!


Use unusual examples


In interviews for customer services roles, your past experience dealing with the public and working calmly under pressure will be significant in whether your future employer chooses you for the role instead of another applicant.


Think of distinctive examples of when you have worked with the public, and they’ll remember you when they’re making their selections. Don’t worry if you don’t have that much experience working with the public: you’ll be surprised at the relevant examples you can actually bring to the interview. This could include:


  • Stopping what you were doing to help someone on the street, which demonstrates that you’re helpful, you work well with people, and you’re vigilant; these are all relevant skills for a customer service role.
  • Working in a job which involves answering phones or responding to emails. This applies to customer service and can be mentioned.
  • A time when you were calm under pressure and diffused a situation. This doesn’t even have to be a work-based example. It demonstrates skills that you can utilise in customer service.
  • Extra-curricular experiences:  hobbies and clubs outside of school and work can add to your experience levels. They show initiative and give you the extra push to be a distinctive candidate.

Interview questions and answers



Don’t settle for fading into the background. Employers are looking for the candidate who stands apart from the other applicants. Spend a little time thinking before the interview and it could very well be you.


Connie Ryan is a retail supervisor and has worked in customer service for over 20 years.


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