With so much competition for financial markets jobs today, the interview—once you have secured it—is more crucial than ever. But to succeed in these face-to-face meetings requires going beyond the precepts and set beliefs that have been part of the traditional interviewing. This is your opportunity to show a prospective employer that you are a notch above the rest, and to do so requires exceeding expectations and doing the exceptional.
Here are a few examples of how to stand out from the rest:
Stray from the beaten path. Take an objective look at your skills, how these skills can help an organization, and expand your thinking on how they can be applied to the position you are pursuing. Show yourself as thoughtful and creative, even to the most hackneyed, routine queries.
Ask “crunchy” questions. Demonstrate your knowledge of what matters to your industry and the organization you are interviewing with by asking highly specific questions; questions that would lay a groundwork for action. These often take the form of "what-if" scenarios and can provoke thoughtful and intimate exchanges of opinions that will allow you to show your acumen.
Focus on signal strength. Your non-verbal communication makes up more than 90 percent of what you are saying. Remember to sit upright, relax and lean slightly forward. Use hand gestures for emphasis. Reflect the interviewer's body language, and make eye contact at least 60 percent to 70 percent of the time, which will build affinity with your interviewer and underscore your seriousness, interest and confidence.
Bring the right tools for the job. Be sure to demonstrate the insight you've gained, whether with a pertinent question, or an appropriate observation. While most seasoned professionals thoroughly research the company with which they are interviewing, today that includes not just visiting its Web site, but also following the company on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Candidates often sit on that knowledge, waiting to be asked or challenged. Showcase your newfound knowledge during your interview with intelligent questions or observations. This will boost your credibility with your interviewer.
Keep current. Yes, you know your industry, and you have researched the company as well. But how current are you outside of these expected areas of dominance? Of course, staying up-to-date on every topic is not an option, but keeping a focus on technology—both in your field and in the world at large—can reap great rewards during an interview. By showing you can articulate new technological approaches to data, storage, security and presentation, you'll likely gain respect as having vision outside your specialty. On top of that, every senior manager today has to interact with the technology group, and showing comfort with the vocabulary, capabilities and trends in their specialty makes you more valuable to the organization as well.