Guaranteed Way to Stand Out During an Interview

by Stephen Jennings

Use this secret as you prepare for an interview and I promise you will stand out head and shoulders above the other candidates interviewing. I can say this because I have practiced this myself and have taught others this little know secret with great results. I have even written about it in my two books, Graduate With A Job and Promoting Yourself.

THE SECRET: Make contact with a customer of the company you will be interviewing with and find out why they like working with that company, what sets that company apart in their eyes, do they believe it would be a good place to work and why? You will be amazed at how helpful the people will be and willing to share.

Before I share the how’s let me give some credibility. The last time I was interviewing for a position with a top medical company, I reached out to a customer of the company and was able to meet with them for about 20 min. I asked them the above questions which led to them sharing even more information about the company. During my interview when I was asked “Tell me what you know about our company, why do you want to work here?” I was able to give the standard answers that everyone finds on the company website but I then said “I also believe in going the extra mile and so I wanted to see what your customers thought of you to make sure this would be a place I wanted to work. I met with XYZ Company (in this case it was McKesson Medical), would you like to know what they said?” At that moment you could have heard a pin drop. Guess how the rest of the interview went after that, GREAT! They were asking me questions on how it went, what they liked about them, did they offer any suggestions for improvement etc…I was no longer just another person interviewing with them, I made myself stand out and they took notice.

I went on to get the offer and was told that they never had anyone go to one of their customers and talk with them about their company. 

WHAT I DID: I looked on the company website to find some of its customers. Luckily, one of them was only about 30 minutes from where I lived but this can also be done over the phone just as easily. I got dressed in what I would interview in, coat and tie and I went to that customer’s location. I simply told the person working the front desk that I had an upcoming interview with a company they did business with and that I’m doing so research on that company. I want to see what its customers think of it to help me know if I really want to work there. I’m looking to simply talk with someone here that works with that company and see what they think. Who would you suggest I talk with? I ended up getting put in contact with their head buyer, I was provided their name, contact number and e-mail. In fact, they contacted them while I was there, explained the situation for me and the buyer said for her to set up a time the following week for me to come and meet with him.

This same situation works great over the phone if there is not a customer site close by to visit.

I wish you all the success of your dreams!