Stand Out at Interviews – 4 Key Techniques for Success

For starters…

We all know the basic prep needed… Research the company, the role and the person who will interview you. Refresh your CV and make sure it fits the role. Collect your interview suit from the cleaners and do a dry run travelling to the place of the interview. And don’t forget to set your alarm!

But what else can you do to make sure you really stand out?

Man Being Interviewed By A Woman

Here are 4 techniques to raise your preparation to the next level:

Prepare the 3 main things that you want your interviewer to know about you before the end of the interview

Identify 3 skills and experiences that show your value to the organisation and the role. This is where your research on the organisation comes into play. Link your 3 things to their culture, strategy, growth pattern etc.

For example, you could highlight your interpersonal skills and your ability to get things done efficiently; or perhaps your record of consistently completing projects ahead of schedule.

How about that time when you generated revenue and increased productivity with your innovative approach? Use examples to support how you did it and why and remember to link your successes to their needs in the future.

Hold back from discussing salary too soon in the interview

Do you really know enough about the role to understand what value you would bring to it and the organisation?

The later in the interview that you talk about potential salary, the more opportunity you will have had to demonstrate your worth and value.

If you have shown success in previous roles in your personal examples of skills and experiences, you will be in a stronger position to negotiate the value that you will bring to them!

Prepare to negotiate by attending a Negotiation Skills course.

Be honest and positive on why you want a career move

Honesty is always the best policy; however, you don’t need to share all information if it is not relevant. Prepare to share the positive reasons for the move, not the negative. Your interviewer will be looking for someone that wants to succeed and invest in their new role. Not picking up the pieces from a previous bad experience.

Prepare your responses to questions on your reasons for changing jobs, keeping them brief and to the point.

Self-awareness and self-improvement are positive reasons to strive for success in your next role.

Be yourself

Prepare to give your interviewer a glimpse of the real you. In many organisations, attitude and personality are equally as important as experience and qualifications.

If you have acted a part to get the job, you will be expected to be like that when you start work. Your performance will not be on point and you will soon struggle.

It is important that you are the right fit for the organisation and that they are the right fit for you!


Spend time to consider your approach and examples for discussion during the interview. Your interview should end with the opportunity for you to ask questions.

Use these final moments to leave a strong impression with the interviewer that confirms you are the best person for the job!

How to lead an engaging conversation and build rapport

We all love to chat. And yet being the lead in the conversation is not what makes it engaging. Having the passion to get to know someone and build a relationship is a great skill in leadership, and underlying all that natural enthusiasm is the ability to lead a conversation and discover the other person’s perspective.

This post will show you how to do this in practice and actively lead an engaging conversation.

How to lead an engaging conversation
How to lead an engaging conversation

We often fail to realise the benefits of taking the time, even for a few minutes, to strengthen our bridge to other people.

The Gallup Report State of The American Manager’ concluded that just 30% of American workers are engaged at work. The findings clearly showed that rapport is a major factor in employee engagement.

So how do you build rapport? What are the steps you can take to instil one of the strongest motivators in the workplace – relatedness?

Breaking the ice

This is about making an effort to open up the general conversation and try to discover common interests. The subject matter can cover a range of topics and start with just a question or a statement. Consider for a moment someone you work with on a daily basis, that one person you have wonderful rapport with, what are the qualities that make it work?

Get into the flow of small talk.

Not everyone will be into the idea, but as long as the focus remains on something the other person is interested in then the conversation can move ahead in leaps and bounds.

You are after the common ground, so look at these nine key areas to begin the search.

  1. Life history – where did you go to school?
  2. Family – what your dad did for work?
  3. Sports – your favourite team?
  4. Entertainment – best book you’ve read?
  5. Geek – what’s your geek factor – the latest smartphone?
  6. Professional – the best job you ever had?
  7. Quirky side – I hate octopus and jellyfish!
  8. Food – are you a good cook?
  9. Life goals – to sail around the Bahamas?

Active listening

This is where the rubber meets the road. This is the single most important action to ensure that the in-sync communication of body language, eye contact and natural reflection create the desired impact.

With active listening your ability to tune-in with each other and gain understanding while displaying empathy creates a strong foundation of trust.

Where you truly listen to each other, common ground becomes an engaged tone and open body language.

Mirroring open body language can help maintain the momentum, and then all it takes is for you to remember the last conversation and what was important to the other person, then suddenly you’re back in the flow. Interestingly enough, when you meet someone you really like you do all of this without thinking.


Engaging conversation seems like it should just flow, but sometimes it needs a little encouragement. Using the tips above, try to build rapport and create genuine connections with people, and you can be sure to see the rewards in performance!

Learn more about relationships building and effective communication in our Emotional Intelligence and Influencing Skills training courses.