Interviews aren’t just about what you can bring to a company. It’s also about expressing your interest in working for that company through knowledge of their history and culture.
The information you can find out about a company helps you better understand how you could fit into their office or team. It also allows you to bring forward examples of previous accomplishments, personality traits and values that would make you a beneficial piece of their puzzle.
So, before you head into that interview — research.
Take a look through all the pages of the company’s website, do some social media research, and do some research on search engines.
Here are some of the things to look into before you head to that interview:
CULTURE, MISSION AND VALUES
Often, company’s will share their mission and values openly on their website. Use this information to help gauge if their culture is a fit for you, and to think about what you could bring to their space.
Company history is also generally available on their own website, and is something worth noting as it can help build out your answer to questions like “what do you know about our company?” and, “why do you want to work here?”.
Take some notes on important dates, big changes they’ve experienced, and key events.
Look up the people within the company that hold important positions: managers, directors, CEOs, presidents, and the Board of Directors.
You can often find this information on an “About Us” or “Team” page.
Having a firm understanding not only of the company’s key players, but the people you are going to be speaking with directly, can also leave a positive impression in an interview. So, find out about your interviewers: their history with the company, their past work history or anything you think could be a common point of interest between yourself and them.
LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to start for this, along with a look through traditional search engines.
PRESENCE IN THE MEDIA
Find out what’s currently going on in the company and how they portray themselves publicly. Check out recent company news and social media coverage.
Often, companies will have a webpage for news or press, and links to social media should be available on their website too. For further research, use search engines to find out more about the company or key players.
CLIENTS, PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Finding out about the company’s clients, products and services can give you an idea of the work you would be doing in the role and who you would be working with/for if hired. Take note of some of the company’s high profile clients, and how they describe the work they do or the products they sell.
Information can generally be found on the company’s webpage.
It’s a question that can absolutely come up in interviews and one to be prepared for: “who do you think our competitors are?”. So, do the research and note them down. What other companies are working in the same space? Selling similar products? Providing a similar service?
Think about the size of the company you are applying to as well, and where they primarily do their business. A local soda business might not think Pepsi is their primary competitor, just like Pepsi may not think that small business is high priority.
This point is more for you to paint a full picture of the job you are applying to, and to find out if it’s the correct position for you.
Do some research around reviews of the company or the inside details of the organization itself (things you can’t find out on their public profiles). Websites like Glassdoor allow you to get more insight into salaries, day-to-day expectations, reviews of the office environment, and more.
*Note: There will likely be some negative reviews, and some positive, but hopefully you will see some trends in the keywords and hot topics around the company that you should bear in mind.
You may even know people in your own circle who have worked with or for that company. Ask them about their experience too.
OTHER JOB OPENINGS
Looking at other positions currently being advertised by the company. It can give you a look into the areas the company is trying to expand on, and give you a rough idea of where the company is looking to expand.
Whatever you choose to look into, research on the whole will ensure you come across as knowledgeable and prepared. And, in the end, gives you all the necessary information to decide if the role is right for you.
~ written by Lucy Fox
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