How to Stand Out in an Equally Competent Crowd

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Despite our best efforts to boost our career reputation from various fronts, there will always be a plateau of worthy opponents we’ve got to contend with. Be it academic credentials, relevant skills or years of work experience, there will always be an equally competent crowd in store. And as we all know, when everyone is competent, everyone thinks that they deserve to be chosen which means that a bruising battle will always await you in every job interview you participate.

Insecurities Likely to be Brought about by Competition from an Equally Competent Crowd

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought you were outstanding in a job interview, only to be humbled by the scale of competition? I mean, you must have thought that the job interview would be an easy walkover, but then you came to find out the hard way that you weren’t necessarily the hot cake you overestimated yourself to be. And so, consequent interviews later, you started experiencing serious insecurities such as:

  • Bruised ego that is traumatized by the harsh reality on the ground.
  • Compromised sense of confidence that is tempted to use back door tactics such as bribery and ’connections’ since it can’t handle stiff competition.
  • Lower resolve to fight once ’justifiable’ excuses are entertained in the mind.
  • Shaken conviction and belief in one’s competence.
  • Quashed sense of optimism replaced by a dangerous concoction of pessimism and indifference.
  • Fear of more competitive and bruising battles to come.
  • Temptation to employ shallow means such as pretence and hot air reputation to step on the toes of competitors thus discouraging them. (As the saying goes, misery loves company)
  • Overreaction and desperation in job interviews which makes you look insecure and needy respectively.

How then Does One Stand out in an Equally Competent Crowd?

When it comes to standing out in an equally competent crowd, it’s more or less a matter of fast and effective execution. So the idea of subscribing to a vocational course should be ruled out considering the burden of time and money. This means that you’ll have to employ quick yet effective mechanisms that will make your current level of competence look outstanding. You’ll have to:

#1 Work on your Personal holistic Attributes

Though this might sound obvious, I can’t emphasize enough the need to work on yourself as an individual to manifest your inner strengths. 

  • Case in point, what mechanisms do you employ to keep your personality consistent and proactive? Do you understand the social mechanisms behind different interaction scenarios? 
  • How about your choice of attire? Because believe me when I say that those who claim they don’t judge people by first impression are lying to themselves. 
  • Last but not least is etiquette. How do you carry yourself around? Do you DESERVE to clinch that lucrative position or will your compromising stature raise eyebrows of doubt? Think about it. 

#2 Flow with Emerging Trends in Job Market Competitiveness

It’s amazing how people make the same mistakes over and over again expecting different results. For instance, I’ve been involved in HR as a temporary recruiter and what really baffles me is how candidates insist on their academic credentials and yet their skills are wanting: 

  • Yes, the accolades are impressive and all but when questions are posed to gauge level of skill, you wonder whether the academic credentials were made up. 
  • In fact, on many occasions, I’ve had to choose academically incompetent candidates because they know what they’re doing. And that’s because they keep tabs on emerging trends in job markets. 
  • Times are changing real fast. But with modern technology, you can stay updated on the latest job market trends through TV programmes, career workshops and even what you’re reading now on

#3 Address Key Challenges through Revolutionary and Innovative Solutions

Prospective employers are used to the same ideas being generated over and over again from an equally competent crowd. This can actually be attributed to excessive formality that’s largely dependent on academics. But when you come up with revolutionary and innovative solutions that are uniquely tailored to be original, practical and authentic, this will sound like a new song to the ears of your prospective employers. It’s as simple as that.

#4 Employ Reverse Psychology in Figuring out What Prospective Employers Want

A resounding majority of candidates go to interviews with uncertainty regarding what to expect. And yes, employers do their best to keep it that way for fair play, but just to be on the safe side, you’ve got to employ reverse psychology in advance and understand what prospective employers are likely to have in store. This will be dependent on your experience in job interviews and your scope of consultation with career acquaintances. This will of course be at your discretion.

In a world of imperfections, mistakes are bound to happen. And when it comes to attaining that competitive edge in an equally competent crowd, you can’t attain the God status of perfection. And at times, you’ll find yourself manifesting loopholes in the interview itself. But as Richard Branson once said, "If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes - then learn how to do it later."




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