When job searching, the challenge to stand out from the competition is constant. And according to a survey conducted by Career Builder this summer, the pressure to be memorable can cause many job seekers to do just about anything.

Career Builder asked over 2,000 employers across the country to name the most unusual ways in which job seekers have tried to stand out from the crowd. Hilarity ensued. Some of the best (worst) submissions included:

  • “Candidate lit a corner of their resume on fire to show their ‘burning desire’ for the job”
  • “Candidate had his daughter call the hiring manager in advance of the interview to thank the hiring manager ‘for giving her dad a job'”
  • “Candidate answered a call during the interview stating that another company was calling to discuss a job offer”
  • “Candidate brought a bag of props into the interview and pulled them out as they were relevant in the questions/answers”

It may be tempting to think out of the box like these folks when trying to get a leg up. However, to find success in your efforts, you must be remembered for the right reasons.

Here are some great ways to (appropriately) grab an employer’s attention.

Leave something behind.
Leaving a physical reminder will help you stick in a hiring manager’s mind. Bring in portfolios and/or a hard copy of your resume to refer to as you interview. After concluding your meeting with the hiring manager, leave at least one of your documents that the employer can remember you by.

Turn your interview into a conversation.
Hiring managers don’t actually want to interview you. Rattling off a list of questions is even less enjoyable than sitting there rattling off a list of dry answers. So don’t be afraid to deviate from “the script”- it’s okay to spend a few minutes going on a tangent if it helps you build a relationship with the employer.

Ask amazing questions.
Candidates who ask strong questions are perceived as interested and driven individuals, so you never want to leave an interview having not inquired about any aspect of the job. Do plenty of research about the company prior to interviewing- the more you know ahead of time, the better constructed and thoughtful your questions will be.

Follow up. Always.
Sure, it’s one of the oldest rules in the book, but it has stuck around for good reason. Before you breathe a sigh of relief that your interview is over, send your interviewer(s) a thoughtful thank-you letter. Reflect on the experience and mention something specific and memorable from the interview. If you are still interested in the position, say so! Reiterate your excitement about the opportunity and be upfront about your desire to continue with the interviewing process.

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