Landing an interview feels a bit like a victory. You submitted an application, caught the hiring manager’s eye, beat the ATS, and triumphed over the other candidates who applied for the position to get called in for an interview.
The hard work isn’t over yet. In fact, you might say it’s just beginning. You need to prepare for your interview. You’ll be researching common questions and practicing your answers. You might have a friend or relative help you by conducting a mock interview. You’re going to read up on body language.
Another thing you should be doing pre-interview is researching the company. If you’re not sure how or what to research before you head into your next interview, keep this guide close at hand.
Why Conduct Research?
The first question any interview candidate has when it comes to researching the company is “why?”
The answer is relatively simple. If you really want to work there, you should know something about the company. Researching the company before your interview demonstrates your enthusiasm for the organization and its work.
Think about it. If you were a hiring manager and your interviewee asked, “So, what do you guys do here?” how impressed would you be?
This shows a lack of enthusiasm and initiative on the interviewee’s part. Do they really want the job? Do they even want to work for this company? Doing your research beforehand answers those questions with a resounding yes.
The next question you likely have is how you should go about conducting your research. The easy answer is to use a search engine. A web search is often the starting point for pre-interview company research.
What resources should you look at? The company’s website is a very good starting place. You should find information about the organization’s history and its work. You may find personnel information, information about the structure of the business, and even some tidbits about what it offers its employees.
You may also want to look at social media profiles, such as the company’s Facebook page and your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile. You may find recent news stories about the company. You might even find information on a site like the Fortune 500 or Bloomberg, depending on the company.
What Do You Need to Know?
Now you know why you need to do some research and you know where to look. Just what are you looking for though?
What kinds of information do you need to know about the company before the interview? Is anyone really going to ask you the street address of the original company building in Chicago?
It’s unlikely your interviewer will quiz you with such trivia. You need to sort out the important information from the unnecessary tidbits.
You should start with the basics. You never want to ask your interviewer what the company or department does, so make sure you research this topic. You should also have a little historical background, such as when the company was founded. Recent news, such as mergers and acquisitions, can also be good information to have on hand.
There are a few other things you should look up before you go into your interview. One is your interviewer. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile. Discover what this person does and how long they’ve worked for the company. Knowing a little about them can make conversation easier and it can inform your questions.
Finally, take a look at the company culture. What excites you about the prospect of working here? Is the company innovative or well-respected? Think about how you’d fit in with this business.
With all this information in hand, you’ll be better prepared for your next interview.