Any job candidate knows how fiece the competition can be. If you find yourself another number in a sea of applicants, plan to do or something to make yourself stand out. After all, it's these few minutes that paint the picture of how well you will perform if you are, in fact, hired for the job.

Seven entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) share what candidates told them that made them knew they were the right people to hire for the job.

1. "How can I be more helpful?"

We had one intern who wanted to apply for a full-time position and she asked how she could be more helpful in meeting our company's goals. Specifically, she asked what skills she could learn in her off-time that would be most helpful for us. I was blown away and hired her on the spot. I also sponsored her to learn video editing, a skill that would help both us and her. - Vanessa Van EdwardsScience of People

2. "Can I forego salary for more equity for the next three years?"

In job interviews, our team looks to find people who are comfortable having "skin in the game" and who are willing to think long-term, both for the company and themselves. A candidate's answer demonstrated all of that, plus the analytical ability to cut to the point succinctly, and left me with no questions about her work ethic and understanding of the company's core value proposition. - David MainieroInGenius Prep

3. "When can I start?"

The interviewee was so confident that they had the job based on our discussion that they asked when they could start before I could even offer them the job. Their willingness to get started meant a lot to me, because I knew they would bring that passion to what they were doing every day and would focus on getting things done. - Cynthia JohnsonAmerican Addiction Centers

4. "I put myself through college."

A candidate once told me, "I put myself through college, have a great relationship with my parents and friends, and am totally self-reliant." Telling me she paid for her own schooling spoke volumes about her work ethic, accountability and determination. Healthy relationships with family and friends translate to great communications and conflict resolution skills. It was a simple, yet powerful statement. - Brandon DempseygoBRANDgo!

5. "I can be there tomorrow morning."

Before I hired my head of UX, he was living on the West Coast. We did a phone interview, and as it kept getting better and better, I asked him, "When is the soonest you can be here?" He replied, "I can be there tomorrow morning [in NYC]." Suffice it to say, I hired him on the spot.  - Simon BergCeros

6. "What is your strategy for X after 12 months?"

A candidate once said to me, "I completely understand why the current 12-month roadmap is the way it is. It seems quite straightforward to me. But where does this go after that? Are you thinking about X or perhaps Y? If so, how do you plan to implement?" This blew me away. The candidate had thought about how the role would impact our organization in the long term, and came up with some great ideas. - Hongwei Liumappedin

7. "I don't know, but I could figure it out."

Candidates who are humble and honest about their abilities are often the "right" hires. Those who also indicate a willingness to learn beyond their current scope are even more attractive. Conversely, if a candidate claims to be the "perfect fit" for the job, they are most definitely not. Why? They fail to factor in the unpredictability of any job experience. Plus, perfection is a myth. - Peggy ShellCreative Alignments

Published on: Jul 11, 2016
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