How do companies make themselves stand out via interviews?

When interviewing for jobs, you want to leave the a memorable impression on the interviewers and company you’re interviewing with. But what about the opposite? Shouldn’t the company be focusing on leaving a memorable impression on you? I’ve been interviewing extensively over the past few weeks looking for my next contract, and a lot of the interviews melt together. Some, however, stand out very clearly and make me positively remember how the particular companies differentiated themselves in my head. Here are a few examples on how you can leave a memorable impression on potential employees and stand out from the hoard of other companies they are inevitably interviewing with in the high demand IT/Agile industry.

One company had me both explain and draw Scrum in five minutes. Sounds easy, right? Well, you don’t realize how difficult an elevator pitch is, no matter how familiar you are with the subject matter, as when you are being watched, timed, and multi-tasking. “Did I hit all the key points? What did I forget? That box doesn’t look right. Why is my hand and my voice shaking? I wonder how long it’s been. I hope I’m not talking too fast!” Those were just a few of my thoughts in spouting off Scrum knowledge and drawing a somewhat legible picture which I had to hold up to a video conference screen upon completion. It definitely made that company stand out and the interview more entertaining for all involved.
Another company had me schedule my own interviews. Odd, right? It was and it wasn’t. It’s difficult for a third party to schedule interviews between two people. It’s also difficult for folks to take time out of their daily responsibilities to schedule an interview with a potential candidate. But, put the onus on the candidate and it will make it smoother for the interviewers and candidate’s schedules and simultaneously give the candidate a mini assessment on following direction, taking initiative, and showing their interest in the company itself. A good weed out mechanism in my opinion.
Finally, there are the odd interview questions that stick in your head. Here are the ones I will always remember:
1. Why are manhole covers round?
2. What is 15 percent of 4,000?
3. Cell phone drop test and pirate problem (ask me about it)
These were not so much about the answer, but your reaction, how you thought through the question and got to an answer under pressure.
Then there were the companies that stand out for bad reasons. The ones that showed up late to interviews, were overly slow getting back to me, or were unprofessional in responding and setting things up. Don’t let your company be one of those.
What are some things your, your company, or a company you’ve interviewed with has done or asked to make themselves stand out – for good or bad?

04. May 2016 by Natalie Warnert
3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Interesting questions for sure. That does throw you off but also makes the interview more engaging in fun in my opinion. I’ve been asked those types of questions in the past, like out of nowhere being asked ‘why is the sky blue’ or ‘why are yield signs in the shape of a triangle’ – nothing more than to see how you react as you mentioned. The cell phone drop test I am curious about, is that similar to the egg drop test? And I believe the pirate problem is about splitting gold coins between some number of pirates or something along those lines, is that right?

  2. Hi Natalie,
    Thanks for the insightful article. I also wanted to congratulate you on your new opportunity. I was excited about the prospect of you joining us, but we never know what the future will hold and I’m sure our paths will cross again. Good luck on your new gig.
    Sincerely,
    Leroy.

  3. I’ve seen some weird interviews over the years, one time I spent 2 hours walking through my resume, line by line, no situational questions or anything.

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