Nicely written resumes, polished cover letters and a firm handshake are just a few of the tried-and-true ways to make a positive impression on the hiring manager. It’s often best to play it safe during job interviews, but what if you really want to make yourself stand out from the other job candidates? What options do you have that will get the hiring manager’s attention? According to these tales from Reddit, it comes down to being a little creative.
Have Some Fun With Your Employment History — If You Can.
This might not be applicable if you can’t actually come up with a joke that makes sense. But as this story from hiring manager and Redditor Zouea reminds us, a little humor can go a long way, if you know what you’re doing:
[He was an] extremely qualified candidate, but listed a previous employer as the Atlantic Ocean. I asked what he meant (because WTF), and he said, “I was a fisherman for two years, and moved around a lot. I met a lot of great people, and learned a lot, but I hated it. I didn’t get to think through complex problems, and I wasn’t really helping anyone. It’s what convinced me to get my Ph.D. I didn’t want to leave that part of my work history blank, and I find that it’s better if I bring it up, since it’s the driving force behind where I am today.”
According to the hiring manager, the situation went from “this guy seems weird” to “damn, I have a lot of respect for him” in 30 seconds flat.
Always Be Honest. It Could Put You Ahead Of The Competition.
You want to get hired for a job that you can actually do, not for one that you convinced the interviewer you can do. Just ask Redditor sdfavefav:
I asked him if he had experience in a specific area of the field and he said, “Not really, no. Sorry.” All other potential hires said yes and, on closer examination, did not at all. [The one who answered] “not really, no” got the job because we knew he wouldn’t bull**** us.
The lesson here? Honesty is always the best policy.
Ask For Feedback and Be Persistent.
Sometimes if you don’t have the right experience for the job, it’s just a matter of going out and getting it. Technical recruiter and Reddit user newport_box_100s was interviewing a candidate for a technical sales role that traditionally requires a chemical engineering degree. The applicant didn’t have the degree, and it was a deal breaker.
When the manager told her this, she said she completely understood but was extremely interested [in the job] and asked if he had any recommendations of books for her to read to get up to speed. He listed six highly technical chemical engineering books. She showed up on Monday, asked to see him, and asked him to ask her about any of the subjects in any of the books. She nailed it and worked there over 20 years as their #1 sales executive.
Think Smart. Be Smooth.
This is especially relevant for anyone who has had to sit through an interview for a sales position. Familiar with the old “sell me this pen” test? So is user teddysblackhat.
[I] asked a sales candidate the overly cliched question of, “How would you sell me this pen?” He replied something to the effect of, “You already have a pen, but I do happen to have a new and compact and weather-resistant notebook that is on sale today.” He had reached across the desk and grabbed my notebook while I was not looking.
Tell Us What You Think!
Do you have any unconventional advice for impressing the hiring manager? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!
Answers have been lightly edited for clarity.