If You Can’t be Brilliant, at Least be Memorable.

A hiring manager of mine once described a candidate as “vanilla” whilst we were deliberating their suitability for a position. That term has stuck with me ever since!

Making a good impression at interview is important but there are pitfalls to textbook answers and the strive for perfection. Unfortunately, doing so can put you at risk of censoring all evidence of a personality.

When things like “cultural fit” are being measured more than ever, you want to avoid falling into the vanilla trap.

So here are my Top 5 distinguishing qualities to ensure I remember you:

  1. Passion – I love listening to people talk about something they care for with energy and motivation. Passionate people are driven and believe in a higher purpose. It shows ambition, a willingness to work hard and an eagerness to learn.
  2. Confidence (but not the arrogant or slick and salesy kind) – Confidence is memorable because it assures people that you know what you’re doing and you believe in it wholeheartedly. Confidence commands attention and can even be shown in a simple smile or hand shake. However, confidence doesn’t mean being the loudest, funniest or most charming person in the room. This can sometimes lead to being memorable for all the wrong reasons.
  3. Proactive – Being proactive and taking initiative is always a job brief favorite (and for good reason). Someone that is willing to challenge the status quo is usually someone who is a doer, that you’re independent and willing to take charge.
  4. Excellent Communication – By this I mean good active listening as well as speaking. It’s not about having the largest vocabulary or most polished approach. It’s the ability to listen, understand and respond clearly with meaning.
  5. Authenticity – Irrespective of the first four traits, I cannot stress how important it is to just be yourself. If the very thought of pasting on a smile, shaking the hands of strangers and reciting your elevator pitch scares the hell out of you. No worries! Even the most awkward and introverted people can leave a positive and lasting impression if you stay true to yourself and embrace that part of your character.

Building your personal brand is a key aspect to employment success and whilst it might not always score you the job, it will help grow your network and excite hiring managers into recommending you for other opportunities.

The next time you find yourself deciding between a textbook answer and your natural behaviour maybe go with the latter. You never know, it could give you the very edge you need to succeed in this competitive job market.

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