How to Conduct Pre-Interview Research
As a job seeker, you should have an acute awareness of the impact that researching a company before your interview has on your chances of receiving a job offer. As you may know, even spending an hour or two conducting quality research is beneficial when answering an interviewer’s questions, formulating questions of your own, and determining whether you would be the right candidate for the job.
If you are not accustomed to researching more than a company’s address as a part of your pre-interview preparation, utilize the following steps to appear prepared, professional and knowledgeable the next time you interview for a position.
- Google the company: Tech savvy or not, anyone can type the name of a company into a search bar and press “Enter”, and a quick internet search will often yield several valuable links for you to utilize before going into an interview. With the wealth of information available online, streamline your search and focus on the following areas:
- Company website: Once you locate the company’s website, find out what service they provide, what product they produce or what they sell. Don’t go into an interview without knowing exactly what the company does. In addition, locate their mission statement or objective so that you can reinforce how your goals and values align with theirs during your interview.
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: Links to the company’s social media sites will most likely pop up in your Google search. Make sure that you look through them for specific pieces of information. Take notes on the following:
o What are customers, clients and employees commenting or saying about the company?
o What vibe are you getting from their social media pages?
o What does their social media say about the company’s culture?
o Are they active in their community?
Pro tip: Check social media pages for pictures of current employees in the workplace. How the employees are dressed in those pictures should give you an idea of how to dress for your interview.
- LinkedIn: While LinkedIn is technically a site for social networking, its professional nature differentiates it from other social networking sites and can be utilized differently than Facebook as you are conducting research. Not only can a company’s LinkedIn profile provide you with information about the company as a whole, you can also learn more about who their employees are, if you have any connections to the company, and you may even be able to find out more about your interviewer or potential manager on LinkedIn.
- Glassdoor: During your research, don’t forget to check out glassdoor.com where you can find out the inside scoop from employees (past and present) themselves. In addition to reading employee reviews and uncovering your worth, you may be able to get a sneak peek at interview questions that fellow candidates were asked at the same company!
- The competition: Expand your research to include the company’s competitors. Interviewers will be impressed that you took the initiative to learn about businesses that they are competing with.
- Talk to your recruiter: If you are working with a recruiter, don’t forget to utilize their knowledge about the company. Their goal is to successfully match companies with the right candidates; as a result, they should have a wealth of knowledge about the company and be willing to help you prepare for your interview.
- Find a contact in the industry: Use your networking skills to find a friend, colleague, professional contact or even a family member who has experience in the industry (or the company) that you are interviewing for. Ask them out to coffee and discuss what to expect in your interview and what they know about the company. Even if your contact doesn’t work for the specific company you are applying for, they may have contacts with the company who have shared information with them.
As you are preparing for your next interview, allocate a few hours to follow these steps and give yourself the best chance of impressing the interviewer and landing the job.