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Candidate Advice

3 Questions to answer right to make your application stand out

By Antal International

Even though your job application showcases a lifetime of experience, the interviews are a determining stage whether you get the job.

To be successful, you should be aware of what recruiters want to achieve with the interview and prepare accordingly.


What is it like working with you?

Hiring managers won't know what it will be like to work with you from your CV, so you need to demonstrate to your interviewer that you will be a colleague with whom they will enjoy interacting.

Therefore, the success of the interview also depends on social aspects. One mistake job seekers make it to treat interviews like exams when, in reality, interviewers look to find a colleague. As a candidate, you need to frame the interview as a conversation with a future colleague otherwise you will work too hard to reply with what you think the hiring team wants to hear.

This perspective encourages greater synchronization between your and the interviewer's brains. During interviews, people speak quickly and focus on aspects such as precting words, grammatical structure, tone of voice, and other aspects. In a positive interaction, you mirror the elements of speech back to them and vice versa.

Incorporating the same communication techniques with your interviewer as you would with a trusted colleague can foster a positive impression. By smiling, leaning in, engaging in friendly conversation with energy and enthusiasm, and maintaining eye contact, you prompt your interviewer to adopt familiar language patterns typically used with esteemed colleagues. This approach can help them perceive you as a natural fit for the organization.


Are you capable of learning?

The majority of candidates have the skills required in the job description, but hiring managers are also interested in your ability to learn as you go. They will ask questions to understand this aspect. Instead, admit that there is something you do not know or understand. Several organizational behavior researchers have found that people don’t like to admit ignorance because they are concerned that it will make them look weak. However, interviewers want to see that potential employees will ask questions, seek additional information, give more informed responses, and show initiative in developing themselves.

Another way to show that you intend to keep expanding your skills and knowledge is to ask about continuing education opportunities. Does the company offer a learning and development budget? How does the organization support innovation? Asking about these resources makes it clear that you are interested in further development.


Are you proactive?

Hiring managers want people who demonstrate a proactive attitude within a professional setting. Candidates can demonstrate that by coming prepared to the interview with a very clear idea of the organization and its history, strengths, and areas of improvement. After you have the information, make sure you practice your answers. If you're concerned about your answers sounding robotic, you will also have spontaneous questions to showcase your knowledge.

Overall, the best way to stand out is to think strategically about what hiring managers want to know about you before you get the role.


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