How to stand out from other candidates: A few suggestions

How to stand out from other candidates: A few suggestions

Jeff Gipson | October 14, 2021

What makes you stand out from other candidates? It is a question every professional looking to excel, who wants to maximize their career growth should ask themselves before every opportunity and every interview … and second interview. 

The current hiring market is rich with opportunities for candidates of all types and experience levels, but that doesn’t mean the interview and hiring process should be approached as if these opportunities are going to be around forever. Every potential career shift should be treated as if the jobs were to dry up tomorrow. You should consider every chance the last one, devoting every ounce of effort towards it. 

What makes you stand out from the other candidates isn’t just one thing, and there are numerous potential strategies that can and will get you noticed—for the right reasons. 

First off, do your research.

Being successful in your personal and professional life is about preparation. Efficiency and progress, in any venture, results from fully knowing about the environment you will be working within and making sure the proper resources are at your disposal to take full advantage of it.  

Learn about your potential employer before you’ve officially entered into the process, ask questions in the interview about the interviewer’s experience within the company culture. It will show you’re doing your part to make a well-informed decision based on a relevant perspective. 

Second, demonstrate your ability to work independently.

Sometimes, what makes you stand out from other candidates is simply demonstrating that you have more to offer and that you can take the initiative to do it without having to be told. 

Let’s say you are in sales. A major complaint among many millennials and Gen-Zers is the lack of training and mentorship where they work. New employees are given minimal training and thrown to the wolves so to speak. You might develop a training program that pairs more experienced employees with newer ones. The veterans help the rookies get used to structures and processes unique to your workplace and the younger employees can mentor the older professionals on the utilization of technology they might have more experience with. 

Offering solutions where problems might not have even been recognized is a great way to demonstrate your problem-solving abilities.

Third, be honest. 

We’ve all had issues adapting to a new working environment. Sometimes you and the culture just are not compatible. It might be that you realized your current career path wasn’t mentally healthy for you to pursue. Or you may have unfortunately run into a company that didn’t value its employees the way it should. 

No one’s work history is blemish-free. The only thing you can do is be honest. Explain your mistakes and the position you took. By showing that you can reflect and learn from your history, it will show you are interested in growing as a professional and as a person. 

Finally, what makes you stand out from other candidates will always be drive. 

Anyone can show up to an interview. Many professionals know the right answers to the right questions. Many people can talk the talk but doing the work and taking the time to do it well, to ask questions regarding relevance and determining the “why” of something, is an entirely different story. 

A candidate who takes every part of the hiring process as seriously as they would their actual job will get noticed. Asking the right questions, questions informed by your experiences and expertise so that you can sharpen those answers to a fine inscrutable point—frankly, it shows that you already love the field you are in and you have the drive to improve the professional space you hope to work within. 


At The James Allen Companies, we work closely with our candidates, helping them build the insurance industry career that is right for them, matching their skills and aptitudes with those companies that will truly value their potential contributions.

About the Author

Jeff Gipson
Jeff Gipson Sr. is a veteran of the staffing industry, with more than 30 years of experience. He got his start working for an international staffing organization where he focused on information technology placements across the country. In July 1992, Jeff continued his staffing career with a St. Louis based information technology staffing company. There, he was strategically involved in launching the organization’s first branch office — and subsequently three additional branch offices over the next several years. In July 2000 Jeff made another move — this time to launch his own staffing company, continuing his IT focus. In 2003 the organization was reinvented. Relying on his earlier sales career in the insurance industry, the company changed course and began building the firm around the insurance industry. The company continues to put all their energy in the insurance sector filling positions of all titles across the country. Jeff and his wife Carolyn have been married since 1980. They have three children and seven grandchildren.
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