Do you have an upcoming interview? It is likely that everyone else who made the shortlist with you has similar skills, experience, and education. So how do you set yourself apart? How can you stand out from the crowd and convince the interviewers that you are the perfect candidate for the job? Try these three tips at your next interview to give yourself that competitive edge!

1. Show that You’ve Done Your Research

The more you know about your sector, the target company, and the role you’re applying for, the more confident you’re going to feel during the interview. Plus, you’ll be able to more effectively tailor your answers to the interview questions. Take the time to do in-depth research and make it your mission to know more about the company than anyone else. Crawl the company’s website, read trade publications and news articles, and connect with current company employees to find out some key information:

  • What is the company’s mission statement?
  • What are the company’s top values?
  • Who is the company’s target audience?
  • How has the company changed over time?
  • What are the company’s current goals?
  • Who are the company’s leaders?
  • Who is interviewing you?
  • What’s going on in your sector right now?

This information will give you a solid foundation in the interview and will help you answer the infamous “So-what-do-you-know-about-us?” question. But, if you really want to set yourself apart from everyone else, weave your research into every answer you give.

2. Remember that Your Interview Starts Well Before the Interview

When meeting in person, your interview starts the second you enter the lobby. Many companies ask staff at the front desk to share their impressions of candidates who come in and give a report on an interviewees’ attitude and behaviour.

Even if you’re interviewing online, it’s still important to be kind and respectful in all your interactions. Be your best, most professional self with everyone, not just your interviewers. Be in “interview mode” when interacting with the people who help you schedule your interview, navigate any technical issues you experience, and ask you to complete any necessary testing or paperwork. Remember that every impression you make during the interview process matters. Put your best foot forward!

3. Keep Asking the Right Questions

Not only is it okay to ask questions during your interview, it’s practically a necessity if you want to stand out from other applicants. If you really want to show employers you’re the ideal candidate for the job, you need to be prepared to ask good questions.

While most job seekers will wait until the end of the interview to ask questions, don’t make this mistake! Instead, pepper your questions throughout the interview. By asking questions at the beginning, middle, and end of the session, you will make the exchange feel more like a conversation and create more opportunities to build rapport with your interviewers. Feeling awkward about suddenly throwing a question out there? Try ending one of your answers with a question for the interviewer.

Of course, it’s equally important to ask the ‘right’ questions throughout the interview. Rather than asking about salary, benefits, working hours, or vacation time, stick to topics like job responsibilities, qualifications, and the company’s future direction. Questions like these can often work well:

  • What would you like the successful candidate to accomplish in the first six months?
  • What challenges might a candidate face in this position?
  • How do I compare to the last person who held this position?
  • Is there anything about my background or resume that concerns you?
  • What is a typical career path for someone working in this position?
  • Where do you see this company going in the next three to five years?
  • How does the company evaluate employee performance?

There you have it—your strategy for success! Show that you’ve done your homework, switch into “interview mode” right from the start, and slip powerful questions into the conversation with your interviewer to give yourself that extra edge the next time you’re up for your dream job.