THE BLOG
03/18/2014 05:10 pm ET Updated May 18, 2014

5 Interview Tips That Wow Headhunters

The job search can be an arduous process. With an average of 250 resumes submitted for all corporate job openings, competition for the best jobs is fierce. When you do land an interview, a little preparation and knowledge of what headhunters are looking for goes a long way to help you stand out from the crowd.

Wondering which attributes impress headhunters the most? Here are some interview tips to consider:

1. Familiarize yourself with the qualities the recruiter is looking for
It is crucial to be aware of your personal strengths and apply those to your chosen career path. The important qualities of each candidate depend on the role for which they are interviewing, and are different for every person.

The truth is, when a headhunter interviews you for a position, they will be able to tell within seconds whether or not you are right for the position because they are already intimately familiar with these qualities. Make sure you prepare for the interview by familiarizing yourself with those qualities so that you can emphasize them from the start. Headhunters interview candidates all day long, so if you want to stand out from the pack, you must take every opportunity to let your best qualities shine.

Top candidates are extremely articulate, mature, and confident, but also humble. Effective communicators -- in both verbal and written form -- are also prized. It is important to show you understand why you are skilled without being arrogant about it.

2. Be aware of your skillsets
You should also be sure of your strongest skillsets and how to utilize them in the workplace. If you are uncertain, tools such as Myers-Briggs personality tests can be a valuable resource. They can tell you a lot about who you are, how you interface with others, and confirm things that you are questioning about yourself. This information will give you a clear picture of how you will contribute to the company for which you are interviewing.

Before you apply or start pursuing a specific position, match up your personality with the job responsibilities. For example, a trader has the ability to take in information and immediately see any inherent opportunities. They are decisive, able to quickly respond, and can react to the market in a thoughtful manner. They may lack some communication skills, but they make up for it with a "gut feel" for particular markets or commodities.

If you are interested in jobs in private equity, on the other hand, you should be able to read people, understand what they're looking for, and have a natural ability to build trusting relationships. Academic intelligence is certainly important, but your ability to be articulate, well-rounded and mature will give you an even greater advantage.

3. Read industry publications
A standout quality in a candidate is deep knowledge of the industry. Display that you are an expert. Your job search process should include staying current with industry news. If you're in finance, for example, you should be reading Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and other related publications. Use this information to strike up an interesting conversation during the interview.

Headhunters are impressed with candidates who are able to include poignant examples of current issues within the industry. They are accustomed to candidates who keep the interview focused on themselves and their own attributes. When you are able to demonstrate that you keep your finger on the pulse of the industry, you immediately set yourself apart.

4. Do your homework on the company and the industry
Be able to display a deep understanding of the firm for which you are interviewing. You should know how it grew, when it went public, and its management team. This is particularly important for entry-level candidates -- you should come into the industry armed with strong research, both about the company and the business as a whole. This kind of interest in the company will truly separate you from the majority of candidates who are simply interested in the job rather than the organization as a whole.

Another crucial quality you must display in an interview is an unabashed passion for your industry."Follow your passion" has been reduced to a platitude, but a headhunter can tell the difference between people who have a passion for the industry and those who don't in an instant. Candidates who are selected for jobs love what they do, so do not be shy about wearing your passion on your sleeve.

5. Demonstrate well-roundedness
Co-founder and president of Leeds Equity Partners, Jeffrey Leeds, suggests doing something that makes you interesting. At the end of the day, there is life outside of your job. At the end of the day, there is life outside of your job. And the life you lead contributes to the qualities that make you excellent at what you do and your ability to fit well in a particular culture.

Find ways to tell the interviewer more of your story: Who are you outside of work? How does that add to your value in the workplace? Headhunters are looking for candidates who fit into the company culture, so you should allow the headhunter to see your interests and personality.

Many people are passed over for jobs because they lack the interpersonal skills that will make them a good addition to the company. Demonstrate these skills, show that you act with maturity in the face of failure, and have the natural ability to make life more fun and interesting. These qualities let the interviewer know whether you are right for a job or could potentially be incredible at what you do.

Headhunters interview candidates all day long, so it is imperative you stand out. Your resume will get you in the door, but it's up to you to shine during the interview itself. Know who you are and demonstrate your strengths and passion for the industry, and you will be sure to set yourself apart from the pack.

Weigh in on the conversation! What do you think are the most important attributes to highlight in an interview?