I recently met a pig named Hamlette. He was leashed and walking through a convention center by his owner in Atlantic City. With his bristled hair and spotted skin, Hamlette was tolerant of everyone inspecting, petting and awwing in his direction. Hamlette created quite a memorable moment, something that stood out and one I won’t soon forget. It got me to question, what would it take to create a similar moment in an interview?
Captivating your interviewer’s attention is essential if you want to stand out as the most favorable candidate. You must make a lasting impression. Considering this, I thought of a part of my background that’s both favorable and memorable. See, before being an executive coach, and a corporate HR professional, I was a Geologist. I worked for the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) for a brief stint before heading to graduate school, where I earned a Masters in Geology. When I worked for the USGS, I studied groundwater contamination in the White Sands Missle Range that resulted from pre-World War II weapons testing. I’ve come to realize this sounds impressive to people because when they’re meeting me as a coach, it suggests I have strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence. Then hearing I was a Geologist, it suggests I have robust data and analytic capabilities and likely complex problem-solving abilities. It also shows the breadth of my interests, my ability to make a career pivot, and hopefully, my intelligence.
But I’m no unicorn. Each of us is unique in our own way, based on our background and the life decisions that have shaped our paths. Perhaps you’re well traveled, speak several languages, served in the armed forces, or like me, had an unusual career change. Whatever makes you unique, I invite you to identify that particular part of your background and communicate it proudly in an interview. This component of your experience will make a lasting memorable moment that your interviewer will not soon forget.