Despite an improving job market, it's not easy getting interviews with the right companies. Once you get some, you're going to have to work hard at making a lasting impression. It goes without saying that you'll need to prepare for the interview by researching the company and determining how you will answer common interview questions. But if you really want to blow the competition away, here are five tips that will make you stand out.

Assume a Consulting Role

Companies today hire people to solve problems and improve their profit margins. Your job is to address some of those problems at the interview and discuss how you can help the hiring manager. You'll uncover some of this information during your research. The company may be facing new competition, for example, and needs to implement the proper strategies to still grow market share. Discuss how you've overcome a similar situation with great success. You can also ask questions to uncover certain challenges, then tell how you would handle them.

Dress and Act the Part

Always dress up for an interview. For a man, that means a suit, dress shirt and tie. Women should wear business suits, pantsuits or dresses. Get a haircut, trim your nails and polish your shoes before your interview, as you don't want to stand out for the wrong reasons. You’ll also want to have a winning and memorable smile, so go to a dentist like Treasured Smiles Dentistry for corrective work if needed. Most importantly, exude confidence, demonstrate great interest in the job and maintain eye contact throughout the interview. Even if the job is a more casual one, the rule of thumb is to dress up at least one step above the norm.

Use STAR Stories

STAR stands for situation, task, action and result. When describing a past project, apprise the interviewer of the situation you encountered, the tasks you performed or delegated, actions you took and, most importantly, the results you achieved. Use specific metrics when stating results, such as a 10 percent increase in sales or a 25% reduction in controllable costs.

Ask the Right Questions

Never ask a question you could answer on your own through research. Ask intelligent questions that help you learn more about the job and how you can help the hiring manager. Inquire about projects and corporate culture, for example, and always elaborate what you've accomplished or how you've adapted to situations in the past.

Ask for the Job

An interview is essentially a selling experience. You have to convince the person to hire you with everything you've done up to now. Then, at the end of the interview, tell the manager that you want the job and know you can help the company. Most people don't ask for the job, which is another tactic that makes you stand out.

If you've implemented these strategies during the interview, you'll increase your odds of getting hired. You should also send a "thank you" note that highlights the things you've discussed. Be specific so the interviewer recalls what you're talking about. It's one last act on your part that will make you stand out.

Author's Bio: 

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.