How to position yourself as the candidate of choice


If you’ve been to an interview before but not been offered a role, you’ll know that getting a clear picture of the candidate selection process isn’t easy. Even if you get feedback post-interview, it’s rarely specific enough to be helpful for the future. Being rejected doesn’t mean the employer didn’t think you could do the job – you would not have been asked to interview if that were the case.

So, what could you have done better and what can you do to improve your chances of job success next time? Here we take a look five of the most effective ways to ensure the odds are firmly stacked in your favour when it comes to finding a new role.

Check your personal brand

We normally use the term branding to talk about companies, but these days almost everyone has a personal brand, even if you haven’t made a conscious decision to cultivate one. Most interviewers will search for you online prior to an interview, so it’s important that you are in control of what they will see.

Start by running a Google search for your name and set up alerts to let you know if you’ve been mentioned online. It’s also vital to check your social media accounts – most have the option to let you view your profile as a member of the public would. If you don’t want a potential future employer to see your posts, make sure they are restricted to friends only.

Research the company

This may seem obvious, but in order to convince an employer to hire you, you need to have a really good understanding of the company, what their needs are and how you can meet them. You don’t need to spend hours to find out this information – searching their website, LinkedIn company page and Google News should give you enough details on who they are, how they operate and any recent developments within the business.

Dropping a comment about their latest deal or product into an interview is likely to impress the interviewer. Plus, spending time researching a company in advance will alert you if they are not likely to be a good fit for you and stop you wasting your time.

Understand the market

Just as it’s important to understand your interviewer’s company, it’s also a good idea to get a good grasp of the market in which they operate. Being able to answer an interview question with a reference to what’s going on in the industry is a great way to make yourself stand out as someone in touch with current events. It also proves that you have done your research and have initiative and are eager to learn. You can find out this information from authority websites and blogs for the relevant industry, such as publications, news sites or industry leaders.

Have your questions ready

Every interviewer will expect you to have some questions about the company and the role and not asking any gives a strong impression that you’re just not interested. Asking pertinent questions is another great opportunity to demonstrate you really understand what they need and as they are generally at the end of an interview, the interviewer is likely to remember what you asked. As long as they haven’t already given you the answer, no question is too simple to be asked. If you’re not sure what to ask about, it’s best to stick to questions around the work environment and the company strategy.

Get expert advice

Following these steps won’t guarantee you get a job offer, but they will help you present yourself in the best possible light. Just remember that if you haven’t bothered to do your research, someone else will have and they will look better than you.

If you’d like some more advice that’s specific to you, why not come and have a chat with one of our consultants? Focused Recruitment specialises in recruiting for the commercial, engineering, technical, industrial and manufacturing sectors, so we know exactly what employers in these industries will be looking for and how to make yourself stand out. Get in touch on 01443 832400 or

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