The Ultimate Guide to Pre-Interview Sleuthing
Researching a company before your interview is an imperative step in the career-finding process. It will make you stand out as an applicant and give you some framework for what kind of fit you might be in for. Check out our comprehensive guide to pre-interview research.
Find the size and the scope of the company.
If you’re interviewing at a fortunate 500, narrow your search to the state/region and department that you are interviewing with. If you are working with a smaller family company, try to find as much information as possible.
Start with the company website, and all of their affiliated web pages.
Make a distinction between their crafted image and the comments others are saying about them (this will be relevant later). This will help you get a feel for this company’s values. Check as many social media outlets as possible- at the very minimum check their website, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. Find out what they are most proud of and what kind of work they specialize in. Most businesses spend a great deal of time and resources into establishing these channels, so take the opportunity to absorb what they’re saying. Beyond that- find the components that make them stand out from competitors. They may specialize in commercial construction in the same way all of their competitors do- but find the details that make their business different. Are they passionate about LEED certifications? Find a way to work that into your interview so that they know your values closely align with theirs.
Dig deeper into what others are saying about them.
Naturally, this kind of feedback is to be taken with a grain of salt- but look for general trends, it will give you a feel for how this company is received and who their target audience is.
Look for the point of view from the employee.
Try searching for the company on LinkedIn and browse former and current employees to figure out who key players might be. What kinds of backgrounds did they have, do they have any endorsements from the company’s leadership team? Have all of their employees been there for many years? This will help you position yourself for your interview, if you know what has worked for them in the past. Additionally, look at the page of the person interviewing you (though you should note your privacy settings here- we advise turning your browsing information off- lest this research make you seem rehearsed). What has their career trajectory been like? You might also be able to browse their connections to see if there are any major clients or any commonalities that you have that you might be able to speak to during the interview process. Finally- check out review sites like glassdoor.com – make sure this is your last step so that your other research isn’t framed by a disgruntled ex-employee.
As with all online reviews- not everyone was going to have the perfect experience, this does not mean that you will not. Finding the right fit can be crucial- and by doing some ground work in evaluating a company’s projected and perceived reputation you might be able to have a leg up because you’ll be able to market yourself accordingly.