Interview Preparation: Do This ONE Thing That Will Make You Stand Out From Other Candidates

Interview. Preparation. Do I really need to write about it? And why would you read my article instead of the other 102 million that will come up in a Google search? Well, the topic still seems hot…

“What will make you stand out and receive the job offer?”

I could start writing about the most common interview questions (“Why shall we hire you?”). Or I could advise you to do a thorough research about the company. Get a good night sleep before the meeting. I know how you feel: “This is so boring, but I have to keep on reading, because I really want to get this job”. The problem is that you probably read all of this advice before the interview and sometimes they seem to work and sometimes they don’t. When my editor suggested I could write about an interview preparation I took some time to think: What is the difference that will make a difference and help you to get this job? What will make you stand out and receive the job offer?

“It’s so easy to do, so why do people not do this?”

I narrowed it down to a few factors in which being passionate about the role and learning about the company do make a huge difference.  However, it seems there is one single thing that you could do that will make you win, which is….

handshake Get a mock interview before the real one.

I am not talking about reading questions out loud and answering to yourself. Ask a real person to role play the interview with you. REAL is the keyword. You and someone else pretending you are having an interview for this specific job.

It’s so easy to do, so why do people not do this?

  • It could be actually a quite uncomfortable experience.

Sometimes the better you know a person, the more uncomfortable it is. However, the good news is that afterwards, the real job interview seems to be much easier and less stressful than the mock one. Believe me, I tested this theory myself.

  • You don’t think it will make a huge difference.

Well, it will. No matter how self-aware you are, and how many books and articles about interview preparation you have read, you won’t realise there are still some mistakes you could make. Another person with a fresh perspective will spot them in a matter of seconds and will give you very valuable feedback.

I still remember one of my very first interviews. The job was an international head-hunting position working on the Middle East and APAC projects. I had no experience as a recruiter, however as a graduate in Political Sciences, I knew stuff about international relations with (how lucky) a focus on the Middle East. During a mock interview, my friend who was a corporate executive asked about my hobbies and, of course, I said: Reading about the Middle East and intercultural communication topics. She pointed out that a headhunting job involves contact with people, building relationships and being a rather open and talkative person. She suggested that I should say: I like to go out, socialise and meet new people – which were also some of my favourite things. Being new in the UK job market, I wanted to present myself as a professional person. At that time I would never think that “socialising” could help me to get a job (which I got, if you are curious).



  • You don’t know whom to ask.

Let me help you here. It could be your best friend. Second best friend. Your second best friend’s friend who is your cousin. Husband, wife, mother, uncle, ex-colleague, ex-boss, mentor … Yes, it could be absolutely anyone who is ideally at least slightly more experienced than you are (in the specific career path or in the industry /sector). If your best friend/ husband/ cousin happened to be in HR, a recruiter or a manager in the field where you want be, you can consider yourself a lottery ticket winner. Run and ask them for help before someone else will.

I know sometimes you just don’t feel comfortable (here it goes again) to ask for interview preparation help with someone from your family or circle of friends. Let me solve that for you, whatever the reason is, it doesn’t have to stop you. Go and ask a career coach – or a language teacher (specialised in business) – if you are abroad. Let me reassure you, they wouldn’t mind to work with you only on this specific task. Don’t be afraid that they will immediately ask you to sign up for a one year private language tutoring or an extensive coaching , when all you need,  is just a one interview consultation.

Whomever you will ask for help, the bottom line is you will go into the interview with more knowledge about yourself and the job market, and with more self-confidence. This is what we all want, isn’t it?

Now you might want to ask me a very valid question: How shall I prepare for the mock interview?

thumb-up  Here are really good resources, handpicked especially for you:

Written by: Beata Dziedzic, Expats Career Coach
Beata Dziedzic is a career development coach who helps expats discover their niche skills, build a powerful online brand and find a career they will love. More about Beata here.

Check this video we made with the most funny and weird interview answers!

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