By Carolyn Rodz
May 3, 2016

There are few things as nerve-wracking as sitting in the waiting room for the job interview of a lifetime. The more you want that job, the more stressful the interview process becomes. You’ve no doubt heard the advice to “just be yourself,” but how do you make sure “yourself” really comes through in the interview? Follow these four tips.

1. Be extra friendly to strangers in the elevator
If one of these strangers ends up being the person interviewing you in 10 minutes, you’ll have already have given them a glimpse of your personality. And even if they don’t, making chitchat will help you work out any social jitters you may have, setting the stage for your most confident you.

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2. Use anecdotes to illustrate your strengths
Just listing out your beneficial qualities can feel superficial. Backing them up with evidence in the form of anecdotes provides real insight into who you are and is far more effective at communicating what you’re good at. I also recommend people try to work in a story about a time they’ve worked well with coworkers or really been a team player. It’s highly likely that you’ll be working alongside the interviewer should you get the job, so this helps let them see you as a pleasant and reliable person.

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3. Avoid asking canned questions
Remember that you’re talking to a real person here, so ask about their own experiences at the company with questions like, “What do you wish you had known when you first joined this company?” or “What made you want to work here?” Help them remember what it was like to be in your shoes so they empathize with you and your situation.

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4. Follow up with a link to an article you think the interviewer will find interesting
Include a note saying that you came across the story and thought they would enjoy the read. It shows that you care about them as a person and that you really learned something about them during your chat.

Carolyn Rodz is founder and CEO of Circular Board, a virtual accelerator serving women entrepreneurs from around the world.

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