In a typical interview process, it is common for an organization to receive hundreds of applicants, phone screen 10-20 individuals, and hold face-to-face interviews with upwards for 5 or 6 candidates. On-campus interviewing can provide even greater numbers as companies will often interview 10-13 candidates per interviewer. With these numbers, how does one stand out from the crowd? Be memorable.
Being memorable can be good or bad. Are you going to be the candidate who has an inappropriate email address on her resume or the guy who shows up to the interview wearing no socks (both are actual examples)? Why not be the candidate who impresses the 9:00am interviewer; the person who the hiring manager remembers specific details about at the end of the day. How does one become memorable for the right reasons?
One strategy is to use strong examples during your interview. Telling a good story to demonstrate an experience or skill set is easier to remember than making unsubstantiated claims or providing basic facts. People remember the details of a well crafted story. For example, if someone were to ask your experience with Excel, being able to relay a story that detailed your expertise will have a greater impact than if you were to tell the interviewer that you have received an advanced certification in MS Excel.
Another way to be memorable to is to include some unique aspects about yourself during the interview (ideally in the examples you use during the interview). I still remember the student who won the state free-throw championship in Ohio in 2008 as a 16-year-old and the young woman who has climbed 4 of the “7 summits” with her mother. We meet thousands of people in our lives but some people resonate with us – think about why that is and see if it is applicable to the job search process.
Finally, there is the danger of being memorable for the wrong reasons. The student who made herself too comfortable in an interview and helped herself to coffee and then started challenging the interviewer when he mentioned her grades. The gentleman who wore no socks to his banking interviews and wondered why he had difficulty generating offers. Being memorable for the wrong reasons will do more damage than not being remembered because once you have made a strong negative impression, it is difficult generating a second chance at that firm/with a hiring manager.
So in your job hunt, think of unique aspects about yourself that highlight positive traits. Have friends tell you what they remembered about you when they first met…then filter the results to ensure you are memorable for the right reasons.