You’ve just been summoned for an interview. Fantastic! But how do you differentiate yourself from the other candidates? What will make you shine over all the rest?
According to Allovus recruiters Brian Jensen and Miranda Wilimczyk, there are ways to stand out from the crowd and make yourself a “gold-star” candidate. What makes a gold-star candidate?
Making a good impression at an interview is important. Brian said that meeting a candidate is like picking up a book at the bookstore and looking at the dust-cover. “Your attention is initially caught by the book cover art. Then you flip to the back of the book to read the summary of the story. Next, you might flip to a random page to read a short bit before you make a decision to buy.”
His advice is for candidates to think about their marketability in the same way.
The hook: How can I grab your attention and make you curious?
The summary: How can I quickly summarize my work and experiences in a way that provides more context and insight so that you want to learn more?
The follow-through: How can I provide you access to my work so you can review my portfolio at your leisure?
Miranda Wilimczyk has another approach for identifying a gold-star candidate. “My tell-tale sign is always their work—their portfolio. Their work is king above anything else. Attention to detail, taking the time to present their work in a manner that shows creativity, ability, flair, and professionalism,” she said.
“Second to their work,” Miranda noted, “is their ability to speak to design—both theirs and design in general. They must live and breathe design. Gold-star candidates know that design is not just a job, but it’s really who they are. Those are the candidates that shine; the ones who are exciting to work with and to be around. Jack Kerouac sums it up best:
‘The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars…’” — Jack Kerouac
- Polish your profile materials. Keep your resume, portfolio, professional/social media presence up to date and looking sharp.
- Know your audience and be able to speak to that audience specifically.
- Know the difference between showcasing your work vs. showcasing why your work solved a particular problem or met a specific need.
- Make sure your LinkedIn profile has recommendations from people in the industry whom you’ve worked with.
And lastly, believe in yourself. “So much of the candidate experience is conveying to someone that you (the candidate) is the right hire. Not just the skillset, but the attitude, the belief (in yourself and your abilities), and the confidence to present yourself as someone who people want to like, want to hire, want to see in the studio or office come Monday morning – someone who’ll grow quickly, make light the work, and be an obviously enjoyable addition to the team,” Brian said. “I think we all look for that, but for me, if you can hook me into believing in you, it’s infinitely easier for me to advocate on your behalf as to why you’re the right hire, vs just another candidate to vet.”