Landing an interview is one of the most exciting parts of any job search. You’ve made it past the first round and attracted the hiring manager’s attention. Now you have an opportunity to showcase your skills.
You’ll also need to do some preparation before you head into the interview. Job search advice columns are full of tips on how to answer interview questions and what not to do during the interview.
Fewer mention the research you should do beforehand. If they do mention this, they likely gloss over it a little. “You should research the company before you go,” they say, and then the discussion turns to other things.
Much less is ever said about how you should research the company you’re interviewing with. If you’ve ever wondered, here are some pro tips to help you.
First things first: Why research the company before your interview?
Doing some research beforehand shows you’re interested in the company and the role. You should know as much as you can about the company before the interview to ensure your interest is clear, and to differentiate yourself from the other candidates.
Start at the Beginning
Now that you know you should research the company, how should you go about researching it before the interview?
The most obvious place to start is the company’s own website. This site should include an “about us” section. Many companies include the profiles of key people in the business. Some include their mission statements or their vision for the future. A number will include a short history of the company. Some may even include news and press releases, which can bring you up to speed on the company’s current activity.
You may also check out the company’s social media channels, if it has them. LinkedIn is a great starting point.
Another place to check out the company is in the news. This can provide insight into the company’s current activities. A negative news story may give you pause, however, a positive story about the company’s annual holiday food and toy drive can also provide a glimpse into the company’s culture and values.
You have to be careful with sites like Glassdoor, but they can be useful resources for researching the company culture. Former and current employees may use these sites to complain about their employers, especially if they had a poor experience.
Keep in mind the people posting these reviews are often a small sample. People with grievances are also more likely to speak up than those who had a great experience. If a company has one or two bad reviews, you might exercise more caution in your interview. These criticisms can be good to keep in mind as you ask your interviewer about corporate culture, but don’t let them colour your perception of the company before your interview.
How Much Is Too Much?
In-depth research probably isn’t necessary, but try to gain an understanding of the company. Knowing who founded the company and when, as well as the business’s mission statement, is a great start. Recent news items are also good to know since they may affect the current business climate.
You probably don’t need to go much deeper before the interview. If you do even a little research, you’ll most definitely stand out for your interviewer.