4 Ways to Stand Out in InterviewsNov 05, 2023
Read time: 3 minutes
Today, I’m sharing how Paul went from being laid off to a new Director role at an amazing SaaS security company.
Throughout his job search journey, he went through a lot of trial and error, learned hard lessons along the way, and eventually realized he needed a completely new approach - and it worked!
Let’s start from the beginning...
Paul had the misfortune of being impacted by layoffs over a year ago, in October 2022.
Paul has many years of experience as a Director leading Solutions Engineering teams at top companies like Salesforce and Backbase. He thought he’d have no problem landing a new role, just as he had done many times in the past.
He had a good resume and was able to land interviews.
But after grinding through his job search for over 10 months, he still hadn’t received an offer.
The reality he faced is that the job market is drastically different from what it was a few years ago. Each open position has many more highly qualified candidates vying for it, making it much more competitive. What used to work for Paul in the past simply wasn’t working. He couldn’t rely on his credentials, his first-degree network, or a basic interview preparation process - because those things alone weren’t getting him anywhere.
He came to the realization that he had to up-level his approach. He stumbled upon our article on Interviewing, and he started to implement various new tactics that we suggested into his approach.
Within a couple of months of adjusting his approach, he finally got an incredible job offer from a company he was happy with.
What Paul did differently to accelerate his time to landing his job offer:
- Proactively showed value to the hiring manager by sending them a customized 30-60-90 plan clearly illustrating how he would ramp up and begin contributing quickly in his new role.
- Researched the company deeply to be able to speak their language (using their terminology) and to demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for the role and company. He developed an understanding of the company and the problems it solved with its products beyond just regurgitating what was written on the website (which is what most candidates do).
- Reached out and connected with other people on the team, beyond the people he was interviewing with, to learn more about the team, company, & products. This gave him an edge over other candidates because he learned about the interworkings of the team, and it impressed the hiring manager because he was going way above and beyond to ensure the role, team, and company were a good mutual fit.
- Followed-up! After his first call with the recruiter, he didn’t hear back for 3-4 weeks. He could have assumed he was getting ghosted and moved on, but he decided to follow up with the recruiter and hiring manager, sending them his 30-60-90 plan. It’s good that he did because the hiring manager responded and immediately scheduled him for the next interview.
He was the only candidate who did ALL of these things, and that uniquely positioned him as the top candidate. Out of the dozens of companies Paul interviewed with, this was the first one where he took all of the steps to stand out, and it worked! He got the job offer.
- What used to work to land a job doesn’t work anymore - you have to approach the job search differently to stand out.
- Doing 1 thing to stand out is good. Doing MULTIPLE unique things to stand out makes you a clear winner every time.
- Stick with it; don’t give up. Sometimes, it takes longer than you want, but you will get that job offer.
Hear Paul share his story:
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