It’s interview day. You’ve got your best suit on, you arrived early, and you brought your resume with you.

You practiced your best smile for about ten minutes this morning, and you blended the perfect combination of friendly and professional. Now you just have to go in there, give the best possible answers to each question and you nailed it, right? Wrong.

Everything you’ve done is standard; these are things that almost every candidate will take the time to complete. Nothing about you stands out. Remember when you were tweaking your resume for this role, and you ensured that the information and format jumped off the page to grab the hiring manager’s attention?

It’s time to do the same thing, but for the interview process instead. It will take more than a good suit, winning smile, and perfect answers – you have to surprise them.

Take Notes

Along with your prepared resume, cover letter, reference sheet and samples of work that you should already bring to the interview, also bring along a pen and notepad.

Most often when you get into an interview, the Hiring Manager will introduce themselves and give you a brief synopsis of the company, the role and what they’re looking for.

Take notes so that you are aware of the different points to hit on during the interview. This will also show the Hiring Manager that you are proactive and that you are serious about the role.

Here at Resume Target, we are automatically impressed when a candidate pulls out a notepad during the interview process. It shows us that they are genuinely interested in what we’re saying.

Show Your Potential Contributions

You researched the company prior to the interview (as everyone should), but take it one step further.

Most candidates will focus on finding the company’s mission statement and “About Us” page. To give yourself an edge, research the company’s current projects and news coverage. Have they recently hit a roadblock? Do you have skills or experience that could help them resolve their issues?

Take this research and develop an action plan. If you can’t find any challenges or projects to focus on, you can create a mock business plan for a hypothetical situation.

This is a great way to show the Hiring Manager how your skills will benefit the company within specific situations. You will also prove your ability to take initiative and improve processes.

Ask & You Shall Receive

So often, interview subjects are nervous and stiff when they arrive for an interview.

If there is something that will help you feel at ease, simply ask for it. To get comfortable, ask if there is somewhere that you can hang your coat. Remember you may be talking for the next half hour or more, so a glass of water may be a good idea as well.

By politely asking for anything you may need to succeed in the interview, you will show the Hiring Manager that you are personable and also comfortable in your surroundings.

If the bitter truth is that you’re horribly nervous, crack a joke about it. Starting the interview with a bit of laughter between the Hiring Manager and yourself is a great icebreaker for both of you.

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