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How to Stand Out in an Interview & Rise Above the Competition

5 Tips to stand out in an interview

You know you’re a great candidate for the role, but how will you rise above the rest and leave an unforgettable impression? Here are 5 quick tips to help you stand out in an interview and land the job.


1. Use psychology to your advantage

As with any human interaction, many subconscious factors are at play during an interview. Learning to tap into small things our brains pick up on can make you seem more likable, memorable, and qualified in your interviewer’s mind.

  • Mirroring the behaviours of your interviewer can help to develop a connection. If they are excitable and use a lot of hand gestures, give the same energy back. If they are serious and calm, keep yourself more subdued and reflective.
  • Act confident, even if you don’t feel it at the time. Interviewers focus not only on the answers you give but also on your demeanour. When you come off as confident, authentic, and enthusiastic, you make a much better impression.
  • Address your interviewer by name throughout the conversation.


2. Share specifics and numbers

Numbers speak volumes! Giving specific metrics is an incredible way to help you stand out in an interview.

Although I’m sure you have heard this advice before, many out there still haven’t adopted the practice. Keep your focus on your accomplishments, sharing how you overcome specific obstacles. Stories, numbers, and facts are more likely to stick with someone over generic skillsets and duties that many other candidates may share.

For example, if you share stories or impacts about business growth (sales, revenue, profits, etc.) you need to be specific. List the growth amount that you generated over a timeframe: “In my recent role with Company X, I created a marketing plan that helped us better connect with current customers, which resulted in a 25% increase in repeat sales and about $700K in additional annual revenue.”


3. Research and ask questions

Research the company, its mission and values, and get to know its ideal clients and unique business pain points so you can give specific answers.

Asking questions during your interview shows you are engaged and enthusiastic about the position. And asking unique questions can be a great way to help you stand out in an interview.

Possible questions to ask in an interview:

Show interest in your interviewer and gain insights into the company by asking something like, “What brought you to this company and what keeps you here?”

Asking something like, “Why did you bring me in today for this interview?” draws their attention to your strengths and what they first liked about you.


4. Deliver a 30-60-90-day plan

Dig deep into the job description and posting as part of your research, focusing on the outcomes the employer wants to see. How will you adapt to the company and implement change? What would your priorities and goals be?

Demonstrate how you can add value to the business. Showing that you have already done some critical thinking to get your head around the role will help your interviewer picture you within the organization.

Build a potential 30-60-90 plan. You don’t have to deliver it as a formal presentation unless asked, but keep the plan fresh in your head to draw from in your answers. For example: “I noted that your organization is working hard to increase investment in diversity and inclusion. I see this as being a big part of my role as {title} and within the first 30 days on the job, I would…..[fill in with your potential offering and value-add].


5. Finish strong with confidence and thanks

End strong by reiterating your qualifications and summarizing what makes you the perfect fit for the role. Be sure to thank your interviewer for their time and ask if there is any other additional information or documentation they require.

Always inquire about the next steps and when you can expect to hear back. Make a note of the provided timeline. If you haven’t heard back by the given date, follow up! Ask for the interviewer’s contact details before you depart.

Finally, don’t forget to send a thank you note. Email is the most common (and easiest) delivery method. Make sure the note is meaningful, not generic.


On average, every corporate position receives 250 resumes, with four to six applicants being called in for an interview, according to Glassdoor. Going above and beyond to stand out in an interview, make a personal connection, and leave a lasting impression, can be the deciding factor on whether you land the role.

If you found this post helpful, you may also enjoy Executive Level Interview – How to Prepare and Land Your Dream Job.







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Executive-Level Interview: How to Prepare & Win Your Dream Job

Executive-Level Interview Career Impressions_ (002)

Are you looking to brush up on your executive-level interview skills? If it’s been a while since you’ve been on the other side of the desk, these executive interview tips will set you up for success.

How will you make a knockout first impression and position yourself as the perfect fit for the role? Knowing how to ace an interview is one of the most critical job search skills you can master.


Preparing for your executive-level interview  

Do your research

It may seem obvious but doing your research and digging deep makes a difference. Taking the time to learn as much as you can about the industry, company, and interviewer demonstrates that you are serious about the job.  It will also make you feel more confident about potential issues you’ll discuss during the interview.

  • What is about this company that stands out?
  • Are they having any specific issues right now?
  • What skills and experience do they value?
  • Who are the key players of the organization?
  • What is the company culture?
  • Who is conducting my interview, and what are their key accomplishments?


Prepare your answers

When prepping for your executive-level interview, it is a good idea to practice how you will answer common questions. Brainstorm a list of questions you expect they will ask, and prepare and practice your answers. (Yes, this includes any tough questions you hope they don’t ask, like job transitions or gaps in employment).


Create a list of questions

While some things may come up during the interview, it’s a good idea to have a few solid questions going in. Great questions can make you stand out from other applicants. Aim for open-ended questions to get a conversation going.

Possible questions to ask:

  • How is success measured in this role?
  • How will the first 3-6 months look?
  • Which skills would you consider to be most important for this position?


Be prepared to be virtual

Since the pandemic began, over 86% of recruiters are conducting virtual interviews. It’s best to do a test to make sure your equipment is ready to go. Is your camera lens clean, and do you have proper lighting? Is your background distraction-free? Set up your space to make sure you look your best.


Acing Your Executive Interview

Deliver a confident introduction

Making a great first impression sets the tone for the interview. How can you instantly engage the interviewer? Consider asking them a question that shows you have done company research, or lead with an opening remark that makes a personal connection.


Show, rather than tell

Have specific examples with metrics to prove the results you have achieved for other employers. Numbers speak and can help this potential employer envision you getting the same results for them.


Paint yourself into the picture

How can you get them to picture a future with you? While you want to display your past work experience and accomplishments, you also want to get them to imagine what you can do for them.

How can you demonstrate critical thinking about their current issues? Can you provide insights into problems and how you would overcome them?


Make a connection

At an executive-level interview, employers aren’t just thinking, “can this person do the job?” They also want to see how you fit into the company culture. Will you be a good fit within the existing executive team?

Let your personality shine through. What do you have in common with the interviewer? How can you show excitement for your work and the company?


Practice storytelling

Using a storytelling format when sharing your accomplishments is much more engaging than stating facts.

Consider the STAR method.

Situation – Set the scene.

Task – Define the job or problem.

Action – Describe the specific action you took.

Result – Share your outcome (with specific metrics).


Reference previous chats

If you are on the second or third round of interviews, and a similar conversation pops up, you could say something like, “Lisa made a great point when we chatted. I agree with her views on…..”

This shows that you were engaged in previous conversations and positions you as a team player (and it gives them an idea of how you would fit into the team).



Think of your executive-level interview as a two-way street. Do your research, prepare for tough questions, aim to make a personal connection, and you’ll show you’re the missing piece of the puzzle! They are interviewing you, but you also need to decide if this company is a good fit.


For more tips on acing your interview, check out my E-book How to Prepare for an Employment Interview.