Standing Out in an Interview When Everyone is an HR Pro

Joseph Stubblebine
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Human resources professionals may have a hard time when it comes to casting around for new jobs. Because they interview and hire so many people, they know almost every trick in the book, so standing out can be difficult. Of course, by showing what you do, rather than telling, and creating contacts in other organizations, you can get a step ahead of the competition.

One thing that many HR pros are not so good at is networking outside their own organizations. While it's not uncommon to get a phone call from another HR department asking about a transfer or an applicant, many treat rival companies as that—rivals. From your perspective, however, they're not. They're your future bosses or coworkers. That's why it's important to establish good relationships with other companies wherever possible, so stand out by being as friendly, courteous, and helpful as possible.

Connecting with other HR pros can be facilitated through other means. While many people run blogs and websites, few have as in-depth knowledge about the specific HR issues that affect your area as you do, and this could help you stand out. While you need to keep personal information confidential, you can write about the generalities of your job: issues with recruitment for certain groups or positions, general day-to-day operations, and even specific examples of where you've created opportunities for you, your company, and your coworkers.

Of course, you don't want the blog to turn into a rant about your work—this would make you stand out for all the wrong reasons. Standing out, however, is the key to getting that job, so keep it absolutely professional yet useful. You'll find that if your interviewer reads your blog, you may end up getting that position because you can show exactly what you know.

Naturally, social media is one of the major ways of connecting with others. Well before preparing for a job interview, you should've created a LinkedIn account. Ensure that coworkers and bosses endorse you where possible, and don't forget to ensure that all your information is consistent across all social media platforms.

One of the biggest things you can do is to undertake a bit of research into the organization. In some cases, it's possible to research who does interviews at the organization, so find out as much as possible about that person. Often, a LinkedIn profile can lead to a Facebook profile, so you can find out if you have similar tastes and discover ways to connect on a personal level. Preparing for an interview by looking up the CEO's mission statement and any news associated with the company is a sensible idea as well. 

In general, standing out is best achieved by going above and beyond to seek out information and connections. Establish yourself as an authority, and make sure that you know exactly whom you're dealing with.




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