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How to Show That You’re Detail-Oriented in a Job Interview?

Do you want to know how too show that you’re detail-oriented in a job interview?

Start by taking a closer look at the previous sentence. Did you spot any errors? Too bad if you didn’t. But if you did right away, you may just be a detail-oriented person.

People who focus on details can be great in just about any job at any company. They help spot mistakes and stop them before they snowball out of control. They can save their employers lots of time and money. They’re attentive and focused and usually easy to manage.

But if you are detail-oriented, you need to get this across in your job interview. And trust me, that’s not always easy. But I’ve got six tips that can help you succeed.

youre detail oriented in job interview

Quick Tips on How to Show That You’re Detail-Oriented in a Job Interview

1 Get the interview – make sure your application, resume, and cover letter are professional and error-free.

2 Show, don’t just tell – demonstrate your attention to detail through your success stories.

3 Do your research – find details about the company or the position to focus on during your interview.

4 Listen and ask questions – paying attention to the details right in front of you will show your orientation.

5 Be specific – avoid wishy-washy, vague language and answer the interviewer’s questions clearly and attentively.

Did you think I would leave out the 6th top tip? Good focus if you caught me. And if not, you’ll need to work on your attention to detail!

6 The final tip in my list is simply to be prepared – an interview is like an exam that you need to study for, but also get enough sleep, eat properly, and, of course, be on time, too.

Now I’d like to look at each of these points in detail, which you’re just going to love, aren’t you – you detail-obsessed person you!?

youre detail oriented in the job interview

Get The Interview

Obviously, if you want to show that you’re detail-oriented in a job interview, you have to get to the interview. And I don’t mean just get there on time, although of course, you must! An interview is a time-consuming, sometimes unsavory task, so a company looking for a new hire is going to try to limit the number of interviews they grant.

Now I can’t tell you how to get the education, training, and experience that you need to get the job you’re going for. But what I can do is give you this…

BIG WARNING!!!

If you want to show that you’re detail-oriented, make sure there are now errors on your application, resume, or cover letter.

Did you spot it? Sure, everyone makes mistakes, but a big, bold one right on your cover letter is sure to raise an eyebrow, if it doesn’t direct your application straight into the trash. For the sake of all you hold dear, please edit and spellcheck your documents! With so many great word processors and grammar-checking apps out there, there’s really no excuse for errors.

Also, get someone you trust to read over your documents. It’s hard to edit your own work, so borrow an extra set of eyes to help you catch everything.

Show, Don’t Just Tell

Once you get into the interview stage, the work has only just begun; you can’t simply write “Detail-oriented” on your resume and expect the interviewer to believe you. Would you believe it?

Telling the interviewer that you’re attentive to details won’t do you much good either. Not if you don’t have evidence to back it up, anyway. An interviewer may ask you directly,

“Are you a detail-oriented person?” or

“Are you attentive to detail in your work?”

A simple “Yes” is not good enough

Be prepared for this type of question with a success story or two from your past that demonstrates your focus on detail. Have a look at these two answers to the question, “Are you detail-oriented?”

Candidate A: “Yes, I am. I really focus on details in my work, and that makes me efficient and effective. I’m observant and organized and can manage time well on complicated projects.”

Candidate B: “Yes, I am. For example, in my previous job, I discovered a flaw in our company’s warehousing system that was causing some stock to be blocked from shipping to past its expiry date. This led to a change that saved the company thousands monthly in wasted stock.”

Both candidates focus on their attention to detail, but one simply tells it while the other shows a concrete example.

I know which one I’d hire!

youre detail oriented in jobs interview

Do Your Research

The best way to illustrate this point of doing research is through a story. Yes, a personal story of one of my own failures.

Several years ago, I was given an interview with a big international organization. The interview was in Boston, and so was the job, or so I thought. So when the interviewer asked me, “How would you feel about working in our Chicago office?” I was floored.

I didn’t even know they had a Chicago office. I had never considered moving there (nothing personal, Chicago), and when put on the spot, I had no answer. It was obvious that I hadn’t done enough research about the position or the organization.

Do you think I got the job?

So if I wanted to show that I was a detail-oriented person, how much better would it look if I asked about the Chicago office even before the interviewer brought it up?

That’s what I mean by “do your research.” Go on, dig a little and find out more about the details of the company you’re applying to work for. Almost every company has a heap of About Us, History, and our Team resources just waiting for you to find them. You don’t have to go overboard, but showing that you know a thing or two already can impress your interviewer, showing attention to detail and a level of dedication that other candidates may not demonstrate.

Listen and Ask Questions

Right, so you’ve got to the interview, have told a success story from your past, and have demonstrated that you know a thing or two about the company you’re applying for. Excellent!

But don’t stop now…

Listening attentively is another great way to show that you are detail-oriented. So is asking questions. Active listening will show the interviewer in real time that you have a head for details. Of course, you’ll need to stay focused and pay attention to what they are saying anyway, but picking up on some small points will show them that you are detail-keen.

Afraid to ask questions in an interview?

Some questions might reveal that you didn’t do your homework (like, “uh, you have a Chicago office?”). On the other hand, asking for clarification or for the interviewer to give further detail on something they’ve said will show the opposite. This demonstrates that you are listening attentively and being careful in your consideration of what they are saying.

Once again, this is an excellent way to show your skills.

youre detail oriented in your job interview

Be Specific

When interviewers ask questions, they’re not looking for long, rambling answers. They want you to be straightforward and cut right to the chase. And if they need more information, they’ll ask for it. But being vague can be just as damaging in an interview. Being specific is being detail-oriented, while being wishy-washy shows just the opposite.

If an interviewer asks, “How do you like to be managed?” which of these two answers would produce a better result?

Candidate A: “I find that, normally, I’m best in an environment where I can be left to my own devices except when that’s not really going to work. Because sometimes you need to check in with the team and figure out what’s going on, and sometimes everyone is too busy, so that’s not always easy.”

Candidate B: “I’m quite focused when I’m working on a project. I like receiving clear instructions and then applying myself to a task. In situations where collaboration is needed, I think it’s effective to meet as a team periodically to coordinate things. This could be daily if needed, or on a weekly basis when efficiency allows.”

They’ve both given the same answer, really, but Candidate A seems wishy-washy while Candidate B is a lot clearer. This shows that thought was put into the answer and more careful consideration of the question.

Be Prepared

Going into an interview, especially if it’s the Big One, can be a nerve-wracking experience. But the best way to go in, perform your best, and let your detail-orientation come through is to be physically and mentally prepared.

I’ve already talked about doing research and preparing answers. But here, I mean getting in the zone. This can mean everything from eating well to being early and not rushed. This will take stress out of the equation, allowing you to perform your best in your interview.

According to research, insufficient sleep causes accidents, health issues, and workplace errors, costing over 400 billion dollars a year in the US alone. How can you expect to show off your attention to detail if you’re drowsy or fatigued? Your attention will definitely be limited, so get a good sleep the night before so you can be sharp as a tack for your interview.

Need More Helpful Career Insights?

Well, to start with, let’s raise the standard of your resume by taking an in-depth look at How To List References On A Resume, How To List Education On A Resume, Job Titles On Resume, Hobbies Interests To Put On Resume, Achievements To List On Your Resume, as well as the Most Important Skills To Put On A Resume in 2021.

Also, find out exactly How To Write A Letter Of Interest, How To Address A Cover Letter, How To Write An Introduction Letter, How Long Should A Cover Letter Be?, or check out my informative Motivation Letter Writing Guide.

Plus, you can improve your online profile by taking a look at my Best Linkedin Profile Tips or my Best Linkedin Recommendation examples to help you stand out from the crowd.

And then, when it’s all over, find out What To Do After An Interview and do some early preparation by finding out How To Ace That Second Interview.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the best way to show that you are detail-oriented in a job interview, it’s time to get yourself prepared. Find out everything you need to know about the company and position you’re going for, and think of a success story you can tell that will highlight your attention to detail.

Eat and sleep well to get yourself ready to listen attentively and show your interviewer that you are a strong detail-oriented candidate who’s just right for the job.

Good luck!

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About Wendy Young

Wendy runs an employment agency with her husband, Ian, in Rochester, New York.

She loves nothing more than hosting a good dinner party and spends weeks intricately planning her next 'event.' She often uses these to introduce clients to potential employers in a relaxed, informal fashion. The food must be delicious, the cocktails and wine must be a perfect match, and the decor needs to impress without being over the top. With all that going on, it's amazing that she gets any time to write about her thoughts on securing the dream job.

They live on the outskirts of New York with their poodle, Princess.

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