4 Traits That Separate a Stellar Job Candidate from the Pack

Some keys to getting ahead before the initial interview even begins  

Career training can a great way to increase your hiring potential, but keep in mind, there’s more to landing a job than completing your professional training.

Think about this: The majority of employers will narrow their pool of candidates down to a select few, some of whom possess very similar credentials. In cases such as these, it’s what happens during the interview that has a more definitive impact.

With that in mind, here are four things to remember when you are preparing for an interview, along with some tips on how to gain a subtle edge over the pack.

1. Know the organization and its culture

When it comes to hiring, there’s a big difference between an applicant who is merely qualified and a candidate who’s an ideal fit for the organization. This is why it pays to do some online research prior to walking in the door.

Learn about the organization, its history, its mission and its values. Do your best to determine what’s expected of anyone who’s hired to fill your specific role. That way, you can tailor your interview responses to the organization to demonstrate that you’re in-tune with the culture.

2. Understand the competitive landscape

The more you know about a profession in terms of regional salary and advancement opportunities, the easier it’ll be to discern whether a potential job offer might be right for you.

In that spirit, you may want to schedule an appointment with Career Services to discuss expected salary ranges for different fields, as well as regional norms. Other resources that might be helpful include competitive job listings (a lot of classified ads include some explanation of starting salary and/or benefits), the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Please Note: Salaries have been known to fluctuate according to specialization and region (among other factors). As a career training student, it may be helpful to enlist the advice of recent graduates – or a course instructor – in order to gain some perspective on what to expect in that market.

3. Dress accordingly

One area where no applicant wants to stand out – at least not in any negative way – is the dress code.
To avoid any risk of under-dressing, you may want to check to see if the organization you’re interviewing with has a Facebook – or even an Instagram – account. Scrolling through employee photos should provide some idea of what the expected daily dress code might be.

However, as a general rule, applicants should err on the side of caution and dress in business formal attire for job interviews, even when applying for jobs in surgical technology, medical billing and coding, professional medical assisting, or any other occupation that requires a standard uniform.

4. Be prepared to ask some questions of your own

You may recall a recent Branford Hall blog post that focused on questions any applicant should be prepared to ask during a job interview. Candidates don’t want to go overboard, but they do want to ensure all the necessary bases have been covered. In a lot of scenarios, asking questions may be viewed as a sign of ambition, providing the sense that an applicant has done his or her due diligence prior to walking in the door.

Collectively, these five steps won’t only help applicants prepare for an interview, they may also provide a boost of confidence along the way.

For information regarding how to schedule and approach successful job interviews, visit Branford Hall’s Career Services Department.