Being invited to interview for a great company is exciting! Here’s how you can distinguish yourself from the pool of seemingly equally talented candidates. The following steps will give you the edge:

  • job-interview-7Bring your top-tier attitude
    While attitude is not everything, it could be the most important factor in hiring! As a hiring manager, I will reject those candidates, regardless of skills and experiences, who don’t show a positive, “can do” attitude. There is no substitute for a smile and great eye contact. Let them know that you are fully engaged in the conversation and not distracted by your cell phone or other items within the interviewer’s office. Believe in yourself, but not to the point of demonstrating arrogance.  Quiet confidence is the most attractive attribute in a candidate and it shows up in your attitude.
  • Be present
    In your preparations, it can be easy to become so focused on the “right” answers to questions that you can forget to simply be present and in the moment. There will likely be a question that you don’t expect. Being honest about what you don’t know is as important as being honest about what you do know. Take a few deep breaths before you go into the interview and clear your head.  You will be better equipped to pay full attention to what is going on, and that leaves a positive impact.
  • Ask great questions….but not every one on your list
    Great candidates ask great questions. The quality of your questions demonstrates how you think, reflects well on your intelligence and shows your interest in the open position. Candidates often underestimate the power of curiosity in an interview. It differentiates you from candidates that only tell the interviewer all about themselves.
    You likely will not receive answers to every question on your list and it’s not the interviewer’s job to do that for you. Ask permission to follow up on key questions that did not get answered in the interview. Offer to contact someone else within the organization for specialized questions, such as those related to benefits. You can impress them as well.
  • Finish strong
    Be clear about the impression you want to leave with your interviewer. What are three things that make you the best candidate?  Included in the finishing stage are, of course, “What are the next steps?  And When can I expect to hear back from you?”  One of my personal favorites is “If you were gambling in Las Vegas, what would you say my odds are for moving forward in the selection process?”
    Inquire if there is anything else that you can provide related to your candidacy. Seize the day by once again showing your winning attitude in your closing comments.
  • Follow up thoroughly
    To increase your chances of success, professionally follow-up. Send a well-thought-out, handwritten note to your interviewer and the hiring manager, so they know that you continue to be interested in the open position. An email is nice, but a handwritten letter makes you stand out.  Just thanking them is not enough. Note your skills and experiences that are critical to success in the desired job.

Do additional research on the company and on the open position. Your research will demonstrate your interest in both. Great hiring managers don’t just hire for the position, they hire for the company. They are viewed favorably when you advance in the company beyond the position you are currently seeking. If you happen to know anyone within the company, reach out to them to let them know that you are in final selection for the job. They may tilt the scale with a favorable reference.

You have come a long way to get to the second interview. Following the above steps will position you at the top of the candidates to be considered for the position you want to be filled by you!

What other must-do steps do you recommend?

If you need a career coach to help you win the interview, contact OI Global Partners today!

Evan Roth is a Certified Executive Coach and Consultant with Innovative Career Consulting, an OI Partners firm in Denver, Colorado. After serving for 30 years in corporate executive roles, he now enjoys helping professionals thrive in the corporate world. You can contact him at

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