Standing out from a crowd of candidates all vying for the same position can seem daunting, especially when you're interviewing for your dream job. Lucky for you, making yourself memorable isn’t necessarily about acting outlandish or saying what you think you should say to come across as a perfect fit. In fact, you get double points for authenticity.
So, how can you leave a mark on the hiring manager? Here are 12 tips from successful entrepreneurs to crush your next interview:
1. Be Yourself
To me, the people who stand out the most are the ones who are unapologetically themselves. Many times, someone comes in for an interview and does and says what they think I want to hear. But I want someone original and unique, who has ideas and is not afraid to offer them up. It's that type of innovative behavior that always catches my attention and sticks with me. - Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co
2. Take a Chance
Several years ago, a young software engineer knocked on the front door of my startup. At the time, we weren't hiring but he had a resume in hand and asked to speak to our CTO immediately. Upon getting an introduction, the engineer boldly requested an interview on the spot. My CTO obliged, the engineer crushed it, and we hired him right away. - Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
3. Be Enthusiastic
One candidate was a big fan of our brand and knew everything about what we did. They almost knew more than I did about the company and were so genuine about it. That excitement was high energy and something we needed. - Cynthia Johnson, Ipseity Media
4. Don't Be Rude
This particular interviewee will stand out to me for a long time: I was cut off multiple times mid-question, and he quickly told me he didn't like my interview questions. The open position was for a junior marketing role, and I was interviewing someone fresh out of college. The interview was brief, and we hired him! (No, we didn't. Don't ever do this.) - Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings
5. Never Give Up
For months, my company didn't have any open positions. One job candidate reached out to me, the CEO, directly once a month for quite some time, each time being met with my apologies. Finally, a position opened, but we chose another candidate. Even in that moment of defeat, he continued with confidence. Sure enough, it paid off and he is now a proud, thriving member of our team. - Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant
6. Be Brave and Do Your Homework
My favorite applicant, who is also a current employee, had the audacity to ask me what I was doing wrong with the company and followed with suggestions for improvement. He came into the interview with feedback on the website, our SEO and ordering process. I was in awe. He took full advantage of the interview time to ask me a dozen questions. He basically hired himself. Who does that? My employee, that's who. - Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals
7. Ask "Why?"
The most memorable job candidates for me have been the ones who asked, "Why?" It shows a high level of curiosity (i.e., someone with a strong desire to know and learn new things). Curiosity in the interview indicates a vested interest in the underlying "why" that drives what we're doing. I also look for the candidate to have a positive attitude in the interview. - Brian David Crane, Caller Smart Inc.
8. Follow Up
A year ago, a college student was a nervous wreck during the interview. She didn't have a lot of experience or well-crafted answers. Throughout the interview, I mentioned that she should email me her thoughts on a few processes on our business. Three days later, I get this incredibly well-crafted email with all the answers and more background on other answers. I hired her and never looked back. - Krish Chopra, Nurse Practitioner Clinical Rotations
9. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
I was hiring for a new office manager position. When I was done interviewing one particular candidate, she paused and said, "Do mind if I ask you a few questions?" She proceeded to interview me: Where my company was headed; what I was planning to do about various roadblocks in my industry. At the end, I asked if she'd like to hire me as her boss. She said, "I'll let you know." - Dalia MacPhee, DALIA MACPHEE
10. Stay One Step Ahead
We were looking for an experienced copywriter to join our team. One candidate was an English professor who didn’t have any copywriting experience, and we flagged this as a concern on our first call with her. Anticipating this, she promptly presented some spec work she had created for one of our existing clients. That made a great first impression, and, yeah, she works for us now. - John Scheer, Herman-Scheer
11. Always Sell
Regardless of the job vacancy, the most memorable candidates are closers. The best candidate we had was not even applying for a sales job but sold us on the spot. She asked all the right questions (notice I didn't say she had all the right answers) and focused on getting us to answer a series of logical questions that led us down the path of not even having a choice but to hire her on the spot. - Jacob Tanur, Click Play Films
12. Be Invested
He asked for equity instead of cash. Even though it was not a perfect candidate, he definitely stood out by emphasizing that that job and the company itself meant more than money to him. And I knew that he had family and kids, so money must've been an important factor for him. The position was not the one that typically involved equity compensation but we would definitely offer shares to someone who believes in our company so strongly. - Artur Kiulian, Colab
These answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.