Want the hiring manager to think, “Wow, I should hire this candidate!” at your next interview? Here are some interview tips that can help you be successful, regardless of the company's hiring criteria.

I know I’ve never found job interviewing to be a fun process and suspect most people feel the same way. There’s a lot of pressure to make a great impression that leads to an employment offer. To do that, you need to show that you’re better than the rest; that you have what it takes to do the job and will mesh with the corporate culture.

It seems like a huge task, but there are some easy steps that can make a big difference. Here are five interview tips that can help you stand out:

1. Show some personality

Don’t let interview nerves get the best of you or you may come across as “blah” and blend in with the crowd. Make sure you’re memorable by smiling (although not the entire time!), treating everyone you encounter with respect and giving a sense of who you are as an employee and person. Showing that you would fit in well with the team can give you a major edge.

2. Get to know the employer

I once interviewed a candidate who, when asked what she knew about our company, said, “Not very much. What do you do?” Given that our firm is publicly traded and very well known in the staffing industry, I knew she hadn’t bothered to do a second of research. She was out of contention immediately.

Don’t be like her. Tap into your network and do some online research before any interview so you know what an employer is all about and what type of employee they need.

3. Connect the dots

Use the information you’ve gathered about a company, details in the job ad and information shared by the hiring manager to focus on key points you want to make about your background. Your goal is to spell out how you’d be an asset. Don’t make the interviewer guess whether you can do the job. Use clear statements like, “You mentioned earlier that you need someone who can support several very busy executives. At my last job, I assisted four executives, handling everything from managing travel schedules to overseeing other administrative staff. I’m very organized, so I excel at multitasking.”

4. Ask the right questions

It’s important to know what to say when hiring managers ask if you have your own questions. This isn’t the time to find out what the job pays or when you can take your first vacation. You want to convey a sincere interest in the job opening. Check out the blog about specific job interview questions to ask — and not ask — when it’s your turn.

5. Send a thank-you note

Sounds outdated, right? Well, that’s what your competition may be thinking, so you’re likely to stand out by taking this step. Politeness is always a wise move. After you return from an interview, email a short note thanking the interviewer for his or her time, reiterating your interest in the position and reminding him or her how you are a match to the opening (e.g., “I believe my strong Excel skills and previous experience in your industry are a great fit to the job requirements you mentioned during our meeting.”). Close by mentioning how you look forward to hearing back about the job. You might even take it a step further by sending a handwritten thank-you note.

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