Researching the company, or doing your homework, is critical before any job interview. Potential employers will want to know what you know about their company.
Good job candidates do the basics by checking out the company website and gathering some basic information, but you can really stand out by going just a little further.
If you uncover as much as you can about the company before the interview, you’ll enjoy all kinds of benefits…you’ll answer interview questions more effectively, you’ll ask better questions, and you’ll demonstrate your intelligence and enthusiasm for the job. You need to do as much research as you can so you can create a 30-60-90 day plan, also.
Where should you go to research the company effectively besides the corporate website?
Do a simple search to see if the company has been in the news or has put out any press releases. Do they have expansion plans? Are they cutting some divisions or areas from their main focus? Have they been mentioned in any blog articles?
Many companies maintain LinkedIn pages that provide different information than you can find on the corporate website. You may be able to search through your groups to see if the company has been mentioned in any discussions. LinkedIn Pulse is also a place to find articles that may mention the company, industry trends, or upcoming events the company may be a part of. You can also check out the individual profiles of past and present employees looking for where they’ve worked in the past, what educational backgrounds or training they may have in common, and so on.
Some companies also keep a Facebook page that’s more casual and gives you another perspective.
Check out official company Tweets as well as those of employees. You never know what you’ll see.
Do a little research on the company’s primary competitors to see how they contrast or compare to this company.
Ask Your Network
You can sometimes learn insider information by asking people in your network or your recruiter.
When they ask you in the interview, ‘What do you know about us?’ you can give a very impressive answer that includes their products or services, mission, place in the market and competition, and more.
You can say something like, “I know X, Y, and Z, and that’s why I am very excited about working here. I think I’m an especially good fit for you because of A, B, and C.” A, B, and C are what you’ve learned from your research. Now you’ve given them another reason to hire you.
You’ll also be able to answer their other interview questions with more effectiveness, too. For instance, if they ask you about your proudest accomplishment, you can choose an example that may fit their vision better than your ‘standard’ answer.
The questions you ask will be stronger questions that tell you much more about the company and your fit for it.
It’s worth it to prepare as thoroughly as you can for every interview.
Credit: Peggy McKee