Treat interview prep like a job.

Nearly half (49%) of hiring decision makers say that being prepared for the interview and asking pertinent questions is a top attribute they want in a candidate. This makes it the No. 1 answer, topping even things like demonstrating you have the right experience (48%).

Hiring decision makers say these are the top attributes they want in a candidate.
● Prepared for interview and asks pertinent questions (49%)
● Demonstrates right experience (48%)
● Knowledgeable about the job role (46%)
● Knowledgeable of the organization’s culture and values (36%)
● Prepared so that they have the right expectations about
compensation and benefits (32%)
● Engaged in their job search (29%)
● Relevant as they present a customized resume or cover letter (28%)
● More thoughtful about where he/she works (27%)

Because being prepared and asking the right questions is so important for job seekers, Moneyish asked career experts how you can go above and beyond in preparing for that interview and in creating questions that they haven’t heard a million times before. One of the biggest things you can do to stand out — beyond the usual advice of developing talking points from what’s on your resume — is to perform deep dive into the company.

That means you must thoroughly research the company — beyond just looking on their website, says Call to Career founder Cheryl Palmer. Look at press releases and articles about the company, experts say, as well as doing “a Google search for any articles written by the CEO and other senior management,” says New York City-based career strategist Carlota Zimmerman.

That kind of research can be the basis of some impressive questions, says Palmer. Say something like: ‘I was reading the CEO’s great interview in the Wall Street Journal, and she was quoted as saying…’,” says Zimmerman — and then frame a question around something in that interview. “Right there you’ve demonstrated that you know the names of people in charge, that you read excellent sources, and that you have a beautiful, curious mind.”

Other questions you might ask based on the company research you looked into include the following, says Palmer: 1) I read that your company is rolling out a new product next month. Could you tell me how that new initiative will impact this position?, 2) I understand that your company just acquired XYZ company. Will the person in this position be involved in integrating the acquired company into this organization?, 3) I am very impressed with your company’s values statement. Could you please tell me how those values are measured within this organization? These questions can help you stand out from the pack.

Of course, you can’t neglect basic job interview prep — you can find a guide to that here — but doing your research on the company and creating questions from that is one step people often forget. One other great question to ask, says Kelly Donovan, a principal at Kelly Donovan & Associates: What the biggest challenges that the chosen candidate will be able to help with?

“This will give you a chance to address how you would solve most pressing problems for your boss. Sharing information about your past experience and knowledge is good, but your competition likely has similar credentials. Showing how you can solve their problems will often win over your interviewer. Interviewers don’t always share details on their problems upfront–so be proactive and ask,” she explains.