How To Stand Out In An Interview

By Dr. Howard Gauthier

So you’ve landed an interview.  Now, how do you stand out from the other candidates?  Below are nine suggestions you can use for preparing for your interview, for conducting your interview, and for following-up after your interview.

Pre-Interview Activities

  • Identify your strengths and skills.  Be able to share what makes you a great fit for the organization?  Focus on you and not your opponents.
  • Create answers to potential interview questions.  Focus on being able to communicate your personal sales pitch with clarity and energy.
  • Practice answering these potential interview questions.  Record yourself answering the questions and critique your performance.
  • Conduct research on the organization.  Know the history of the organization, their goals, and the issues/problems they face.

Activities During The Interview

  • Know that first impressions are key.  This includes making eye contact, being friendly to everyone you meet, and having a strong handshake (not too aggressive, not too limp).
  • Try to build a relationship with the interviewers. You can do this by being prepared through the pre-interview activities, and also by creating a common bond.  What do you have in common with the interviewer?  Do you have common friends, common interests, or common hometowns?  Try to build a relationship and create chemistry with the interviewers.
  • Be positive in your communications.  Avoid saying anything negative about your colleagues, your current boss, or a former boss.
  • Let the interviewers know that you are passionate about both the job and the organization.

Post-Interview Activities

  • Send a thank-you note or e-mail to everyone you met during your interview.  In your note, let them know that you want the job, that you believe you’re a good fit (list the reasons), and let them know how you can solve their problems (or achieve their goals).  Try to strengthen your connection with each person.


These nine suggestions are just some of the basics you will want to use to give yourself a leg up on your competition.  The key is that you are prepared for your interview, you make a connection during the interview, and you show them how you can help them to achieve their goals.  Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process.  In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS! 

Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University.  He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach.  He is also an author of 9 books.  Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at or his newest book Execute for Success at


Learn the Strategies you Should use in an Interview

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Learn the strategies you should use to get a job in the competitive world of sports.  Getting Hired in College Sports presents strategies and techniques that are proven to help a person to get a job in a competitive job market and a tough economy.


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“This book is fantastic – it is very practical for people who want to get into (or advance) in the sports industry.”

   Greg McDermott

    Head Men’s Basketball Coach

    Creighton University



2 thoughts on “How To Stand Out In An Interview

  1. I recall a job candidate sent me a follow up mentioned he hoped he could be a part of our team. That follow up note sewed up the job for him.

    • Great comment! Proper follow-up is so important. Sometimes it’s the key between getting the job versus not getting the job. In other words, when two candidates are pretty much equal in the eyes of the search committee, the follow-up note is the tipping point.

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