How to Stand Out in an Interview: Be Unique

By CHARLIE KIMMEL on JUNE 8, 2015

The Four Essentials to Being Unique

Whale shark demands attention

Given the shrinking job market, most of us want to stand out from the crowd in the vast sea of applicants. By highlighting your strengths, you can ensure you leave a lasting impression. Just make sure it’s a positive one. Even when you look up at the star-studded sky, your eyes tend to fixate upon the brightest star.

I remember once going to this enormous aquarium, which was brimming with a diversity of fish and sea animals. I remember staring at the whale shark with glazed eyes. It demanded attention, not necessarily because of its size, but because of its exotic skin color, the grace with which it moved, and the sheer terror it exhibited.

Similarly, in order to enhance your career and escalate your growth, you must garner the attention of potential employers. The following are a few ways in which you can ensure you stand out from the crowd.

1. Stand out from the crowd by knowing your aptitude.

Calculating aptitude using jellybeans

When you look at professions that seem very rewarding, you may decide to follow them in your career path. One of the most important factors that affect the way you feel toward a particular job is your capability to do it. More often than not, you tend to ignore your innate capabilities. Don’t downplay your abilities to perform within given situations. At such times, what you may forget is that each and every individual is unique. Your knowledge and abilities differ from others’ knowledge and abilities.

The biggest secret to gaining professional success is to find your hidden talent and build your career around it. Wherever your interests lie is where your natural aptitudes likely lie. Your perfect job will be in alignment with your skills, experience, attitude, personality, and interests. Know your aptitude. As a candidate who knows your aptitude and your strengths, you will stand out from the crowd of applicants who don’t.

2. Stand out from the crowd with professional etiquette.

Smiling employee

While preparing for an interview, remember to be professional and courteous. The way you behave in an interview will go a long way in helping you stand out from the crowd as a powerful contender. Your basic mannerisms combined proper etiquette will help you be professional in your own unique way.

According to Barbara Pachter, author of the book “The Essentials of Business Etiquette,” there is a fine line between social and business interactions. In order to appear professional, you must adhere to some rules.

  • When introducing yourself to a potential employer, you should always use your full name. That is, your first and last names. Whenever you are introduced to a new individual, you should stand up. This shows respect toward the other person.

  • Do not excessively employ the use of words such as ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry.’ You may come across as being a bit too polite. Yes, use basic manners. Just don’t be excessive with them.

  • Avoid crossing your legs when sitting in a professional setting such as an interview. The posture can come across as too casual.

  • Gesture with an open palm and avoid pointing at things. This can be considered as rude or hostile.

3. Stand out from the crowd with your body language.

Jellybean body in a cookie cutter

Body language is a very important element of how you can make yourself stand out from the crowd. More than half the communication you do in your everyday life is through your body language. When participating in an interview, or having a professional discussion, you want to radiate power. If your body language does not match up with what you are saying, this can be a big red flag for potential employers.

There are a few simple body language tricks you can use to help radiate more power.

  • By straightening your back and pulling back your shoulders, your body naturally emanates power and self-confidence.

  • Avoid repetitively touching your hands and face, leaning backward, and crossing your arms. These postures are the very definition of defensiveness and signal that you might be hiding something.

  • Try to adopt open and friendly gestures, such as nodding and gentle smiles. This portrays likeability.

  • Curbing your enthusiasm may be necessary if you tend to come across as too exuberant. You don’t want to overwhelm your audience.

  • Finally, when exiting, remember to make eye contact, smile warmly, and shake hands.

A cheery face and an energetic tone is definitely one most employers will not forget in a hurry. If you are genuine and authentic, your body language won’t be stifled or overpowering.

4. Stand out from the crowd with a positive attitude.

Being positive at work to stand out from the crowd

In the book, “Psychology of Attitudes,” by Alice H. Eagly and Shelly Chaiken, an attitude “is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor.”

A professional attitude is the tendency to endorse the ideals of a profession and the culture of a company. To outshine at work and be the brightest star, guide your colleague’s or potential boss’s eyes to fixate upon your amicable attitude. Core values such as accountability, caring, a desire for self-improvement, diversity, honesty, respect, commitment, innovation, open-mindedness, and responsibility will make you an invaluable team player. When you have a willing attitude to learn new things, as well as corrections, you will be valued for your knowledge, experience, and positivity.

Once you have the right attitude in place, excelling in your career is no longer a long lost dream. That wish upon your star will finally be able to come true.

Be Unique

Yellow jellybean in a sea of red ones

You should now have a good idea of how you can make yourself stand out in a bustling crowd of applicants and employees. You will be able to make yourself an instrumental asset to any organization. With the current and overwhelming trend of globalization, be sure your ideas and opinions do not get lost or forgotten over time. With your strong and unique aptitude, professionalism, body language, and attitude, you can only go forward from here. Self-improvement and being unique will help you stand out from the crowd and become your very own Northern star.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Charlie Kimmel

Charlie Kimmel

President & CEO

Charlie Kimmel has dedicated his career to executive search. Charlie is an honors graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He began his career at Kimmel & Associates as a recruiter in 1990.

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