It is important that you have a good basic knowledge of the company you are attending an interview with before you arrive.
Granted, the interview itself is a great opportunity for you to learn more about the organisation but it is not the time to ask basic questions – the answers to which are readily available online.
Thanks to the Internet, it has never been easier to learn about a company, so there really are no excuses!
It is very apparent to an employer when you haven’t done your research. They will spot this in the questions you ask on the day and your ability (or inability!) to hold a conversation about their business – so you need to do the legwork beforehand or you will be caught out.
Below are some simple research steps to follow that will leave you feeling knowledgeable and confident ahead of your interview:
Step 1: Start by visiting their company website
Head straight to the ‘About Us’ section to ensure you are clued up on the products and/or services the company actually provides. Make a note of any particular words or phrases they use to describe the company and think about how you could build these into your answers on the day.
Check whether they have a ‘Vision and Values’ section or something similar. Many companies consider a candidate’s cultural fit to be an important factor in the recruitment process and this section will give you the insight you need to demonstrate confidently that you share similar values and will slot into their team well.
Do they have a ‘Meet the Team’ section? Here you will be able to find out more about the senior management team and those that you could be working alongside in the role you’ve applied for. Importantly, can you find out any information about the person interviewing you and identify any possible talking points?
Their ‘Careers’ section should be your next port of call. Find out as much as you possibly can about the role you’re interviewing for, and show you’ve paid attention to the job description by forming some questions around what’s expected of you. This section of their website should also give you a good feel of what it’s like to work there, so you’re able to make a judgement on whether this will be the right kind of company for you.
The last important section to delve into is ‘News’. Make sure you’re aware of their most recent announcements. Have they just won an award, announced a new partnership, hosted an event or been involved in a CSR initiative? Pocket this information and look for opportunities to demonstrate your knowledge and research in the interview.
Step 2: Familiarise yourself with the company’s social media channels
You’ll often find that some companies take a more informal approach to communication via their social media channels, so check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter etc. in case they’re sharing anything different on there to what’s available on their website.
This will give you a good impression of how the company want’s customers to perceive their business.
Just having had a browse can stand you in good stead should they mention something they’ve recently pushed out via their social channels and you’re able to strike up a conversation.
Don’t forget to follow their channels so you don’t miss anything new in the lead up to your interview!
Step 3: Look the company up on sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed
These type of websites can help you get more of the ‘inside scoop’ on the company you’re interviewing with.
You should be able to find out information on typical salaries at the company and details about their hiring process, as well as employee comments and reviews.
Although, it is advisable to take these reviews with a pinch of salt, because as we all know, people are much more likely to leave an online review if they’re unhappy and looking to vent!
Step 4: Research the industry and the company’s competitors
Don’t just draw the line at researching the company itself.
Having knowledge of industry trends and competitor movements is impressive knowledge to have at interview stage. It demonstrates that you’ve gone above and beyond in preparing for your interview.
Step 5: Set up Google News alerts
You’re likely to begin your research around the company a week or two before your interview, so it’s a good idea to set up Google News alerts using the company name as a trigger.
Google will email a link to the relevant news story directly to your inbox so you won’t miss anything new about the company in the lead up to your interview.