How To Stand Out In A Job Interview - Gulf Business
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How To Stand Out In A Job Interview

How To Stand Out In A Job Interview

Aiman Kabli, founder and CEO of Dubai Job Connections, a web-based job placement platform, explains how to take on the highly competitive job market of Dubai.

Have you just received an interview call? Congratulations. Your next step is to not only impress your interviewer but also stand out from the crowd to be offered the job.

So what can you do to distinguish yourself from competition?

While there is no specific thumb rule, there are a couple of pointers that could make a difference to your performance. Having a strong and crisply worded resume and a confident attitude could put you in an ideal light among a sea of candidates. Given below are a few quick tips that will help you set up your game and take charge of the interview.

Make it crisp

A resume is a document used to summarise the best of your skills and background in order to get prospective employers interested enough to invite you for interview.

A good resume showcases your top achievements in a concise language, and should not exceed two pages.

To keep it that short, you should list only major career experiences on the resume and take out smaller things or experiences not directly related to the field of work you are applying for. Also you do not need to list all training courses you have taken or a long inventory of skills you proclaim to have; these will mostly be inferred from your experience.

An experienced recruiter will understand your profile from a quick look at your resume. So make it easy to look at and try to not duplicate information.

use apt terms

Strong action words should be used to describe what you did in previous work engagements, as well as your extra skills and interests which may not yet have been fully demonstrated or utilised. Most employers like to see actual achievements and what specific role you played in them – i.e. were you directly responsible for the achievement or had a supporting or advisory role. For example, better than just saying “I handled the sales operation for region “X” you should say something like “I managed a sales team of five and drove the effort to reach an aggressive target of $x in the region.”

But be sure what you write on your resume accurately matches the type of role you had and achievements you reached – it is easy and common for employers to do reference checks by calling your previous bosses or colleagues and getting another version of the story. Additionally, the Dubai market requires some demographic info on the resume such as nationality, visa status, family status, date of birth, and a personal photo.

prep up

Each interview is different, so you cannot expect to prepare in the same way for any interview. Differences will be mostly driven by the seniority of the role, type of company (for example: multinational or local, private or governmental), size and age of the company (which dictates the complexity of their HR and selection procedures), type of role (technical or managerial), and the internal culture of the company. Therefore, all these variables must be taken into account when preparing for a particular interview.

Some companies use a casual, informal style while others may use pressure. Larger companies tend to use some psychometric and cognitive testing or simulation exercises, while smaller companies tend to reply on single or multiple interviews. The candidate should be prepared accordingly.


In order to prepare well, the candidates should “do thorough homework” by conducting some research about the company and role they are applying for. Learn some key facts about their history and current challenges, perhaps what is mentioned in the media about them, and try to predict what they may have in mind for this role.

For example, has the company been doing well lately and is perhaps just looking for someone to maintain the status quo, or is it passing through some tough times and needs a growth driver? Also try to find out who was the last person in that role and what their profile was like through professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.

If possible, the candidates could also find out who will be interviewing them and look them up as well to get a sense of their background and work style.


Most companies nowadays use competency-based interviews, in which they try to assess whether you possess certain character qualities that enable you to perform the work in the desired way. Examples of these are: drive for
results, initiative and follow-through, organisational awareness, tact and diplomacy, delivering through people, meeting deadlines, integrity/honesty, negotiation skills, open communication, delegation, and others depending on the industry you are targeting.

Companies usually assess these qualities in an interview by asking for past examples or hypothetical situations where candidates can demonstrate those qualities. Try to have a few stories prepared with all details such as the situation background, your actions, the actual results, and how satisfied you are with the outcome or what you would. Some companies use a casual, informal style while others may use pressure. Larger companies tend to use some psychometric and cognitive testing or simulation exercises, while smaller companies tend to reply on single or multiple interviews. have done differently. Every person makes mistakes so don’t be shy to mention them if there are any serious ones. Employers focus more on your ability to learn from them and adjust your future actions accordingly.


Most companies also have a set of internal values, which help to build a cohesive culture and spirit. Questions may appear in the interview to ensure you can fit with and embrace this culture at an emotive level. Conservative businesses may have more traditional values with focus on stability and caution, while more enterprising business can have liberal values that promote exploration and change.

If youare targeting an employer and feel you match their internal culture, please ensure to let these attitudes show in the way you speak and interact with interviewers, and also in the career examples you give.

Dress code also follows from this point – it depends on the company type. Some companies which have client-facing roles prefer to dress to match their clients and will mostly have a formal code, while most technology and entertainment companies will have a more relaxed and casual code matching their business environment.


Lastly, you should brush up on the latest developments and technical buzzwords in your field, so you’ll be ready to address questions while also showing some forward thinking. Your answers should match the level of the role; for example you should make it more technical/tactical for an individual contributor role, but more strategic and focused on “big picture” trends for management roles. Some people find it beneficial to practice with a “mock” interview before the real one, which can be done with an experienced friend or career consultant.

Do your best to prepare to take on the highly competitive job market of Dubai.

Once you’ve passed the interview stage and receive a job offer, it is not wrong to negotiate. This is another area where research will help you, so you should gather market salary and benefits information in advance by reading relevant publications or online articles, and also by speaking to friends in similar fields.

Be sure to present your argument gently and based on real facts, so it would stand the highest chances for acceptance. If you feel the company really needs your particular talent and skill-set, they would be likely to increase the offer to you within reason.


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