Job hunters can never rest easy. Even at times where there are labor shortages, it can still take more than a few job applications to get you the job you want. It might take even more to land a job you want that offers a salary you’d be happy with.

Of course, there are ways to shorten the process. Building up your network will increase the chances of getting a job call based on a recommendation is one. But even with a good recommendation, you still need to make a good impression during your interview. If you know what your goals are and you want to get the job that will help you achieve them, you have to make sure that you stand out in your interview.

Learn Everything You Can About the Employer

Everybody researches employers before going into an interview. It’s as common interviewing advice as is making sure that your resume doesn’t have any spelling mistakes. But you should make sure that your research turns up useful information. You should know more than where the company is and what they do. You need to know what is important to the company. What is their mission statement? What do they value? Figuring out the answers to these questions can help you figure out how to phrase your answers in a way that helps the interviewer see that you are the best fit for the company. It also shows them that you care about this job.

Have the Answers to the Tough Questions

The interview is a get-to-know-you, but it can also be a test. The interviewer wants to make sure that you have the skills and temperament that they are looking for, so be prepared for them to really make you think and go beyond the superficial answers. The interviewer is going to ask you some hard questions. These types of questions are very useful to interviewers, but they can sometimes be confusing for the people having to answer them. Reading up on them before the interview and learning the principles of answering tough questions will help you avoid making a blunder.

Highlight What Makes You Different

When the interviewer asks you questions, you can give a basic answer, or you can give them an in-depth answer that helps you stick out from the other applicants. Guess which one will get you the job? Use your answers to highlight special projects that you have worked on, volunteer experience that you have, the education you received, and additional skills that you have. If you are applying for a management position and you have a master’s of business administration, this is something important to touch on. An MBA gives you the knowledge of business and leadership skills that give you a huge leg up on your competition.

Ask Good Questions

Besides giving good answers, you should also make sure that you ask good questions. An interview is not a thing where you sit down with the interviewer who asks questions, and all you do is look professional and fire answers at them.

Even if you’re not given a prompt to ask questions, you should still find a way to work them in. You can leave them for the end of the interview since the interviewer will usually ask you if you have any questions. If you find that you have a hard time coming up with good questions, it is okay to plan ahead and write some down. This doesn’t make you look bad; it actually makes you look prepared.

Knock Them off Their Chair for the Finish

You shouldn’t literally knock your interview off their chair at the end of the interview, but you need to finish strong. That’s the last chance to leave a favorable impression, and you’re not about to let it go to waste.

If the interview ends with you asking questions, be sure you ask good ones. If the interview ends with the interviewer’s question, it’ll likely be the “why should we hire you.” And that’s your chance to quickly and efficiently explain how great you are and why you’re so great. Don’t state a couple of traits you think are your defining characteristics. Be brief and be memorable.

You’ll get better at being interviewed with every interview you attend. However, your goal is probably to find a job with as few interviews as possible, and when you know what your goal is, you should take actions to achieve it. For the interview, that means standing out, and the best way to stand out is to be prepared for everything that might happen.