How to Showcase Your Best Work in an Interview
People have done some pretty strange things to get an interviewer’s attention. In fact, CareerBuilder recently released a survey revealing some of the craziest ploys candidates have used to stand out. One hiring manager surveyed shared a story about a candidate who “lit a corner of their resume on fire to show their ‘burning desire’ for the job.” Take a look at the rest of the survey if you need a good laugh.
You want to capture the hiring manager’s interest so that they remember you long after the interview, but you want them to remember you for the right reasons.
Here are a few ways you can keep a hiring manager engaged and be remembered for your strength as a candidate — not for some questionable stunt you pulled.
Bring in Tangible Work Samples
Send a link to your digital portfolio to the interviewer ahead of time, and for the actual interview, bring in hard copies of your work samples. Real-world objects are more memorable than two-dimensional copies, according to a study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in October 2014.
In the study, participants were asked to recall and recognize a set of 44 household objects. There were three viewing conditions: real-world objects, colored photographs, and black-and-white line drawings. With real objects, recall and recognition performance was significantly better than with colored photographs or line drawings.
To be more memorable, bring in hard copies of your projects, publications in which you’ve been published, and any three-dimensional examples of the work you may have done. Keep it relevant, and you’ll be remembered — in a good way.
Use Creative Channels to Share Your Ideas
Want to really impress the interviewer? Show examples of the work you could contribute if hired using different creative channels. For example, if you’re interviewing for an event coordinator position, you could use Pinterest to create themed boards for various events. Alternatively, you could use it to present how you might decorate a storefront or other display.
Or, if you’re applying to be a graphic designer, design a sample idea for the company using the programs you’d use on the job. Creating something specifically for the company shows the interviewer how passionate and invested you are.
Tell Compelling Stories
Answer questions by telling a story. To make a story compelling, set it up with an interviewer-related problem or need, then explain the journey to finding the solution. This type of story engages the interviewer because they will want to know the outcome.
For example, a great story might start like this: “I had just been promoted to customer service supervisor when I found out my coworker, who also happened to be my friend, was stealing. It wasn’t anything big — just a few bucks here and there — but, I knew I shouldn’t let it slide because that kind of dishonesty is toxic and tends to get worse…”
Turn the Interview Into a Conversation
Save your interview from becoming a boring Q&A session. Instead, turn it into a conversation. Find out what you and the interviewer have in common by mentioning your interests and hobbies. You can easily work these tidbits into your answers.
For example, you could say, “I have a connection, who I met through playing soccer, who referred me to a great production team that could film the commercial for half the price.” If the interview says, “I play soccer, too,” or “I used to play soccer,” ask them more about it. It’s okay to spend a few minutes on a tangent if it helps you build rapport with the interviewer.
If you really captivate the hiring manager, they’ll want to stay in touch — even if the position doesn’t work out (either the employer chooses another candidate or you accept another job offer). Who knows? Sometime down the road, you may receive a call from the hiring manager about a new opening that could be perfect for you.
This article originally appeared on BusinessCollective.
Alan Carniol is the creator of InterviewSuccessFormula.com, a website that has helped more than 30,000 job seekers land offers.