It is never a good idea to walk into a job interview unprepared. Part of your preparation for an interview is taking time to do adequate research about the company with which you are interviewing. This goes above and beyond knowing where a company is located or what an organization’s primary products and/or services are. You don’t have to spend days researching the company, but plan to invest at least 30 minutes to an hour learning all you can about the organization before your interview.
In order to position yourself in a job interview as the best candidate for a job, you’ve got to do your research, and let it show during your interview. Here are a few tips for researching a company before your interview.
1. Start your research with the company’s website, but don’t stop there. While you can learn a lot about a company from its website, there are other sources you should look at as well. For example, Hoovers.com is a great place to find industry-related research and information. You can use LinkedIn to learn more about the leadership of a company, the hiring manager, and even if there’s anyone you are connected to who works at that particular company. A simple Google search may reveal other pertinent news and information as well.
2. Know vital information about the company. Some facts you should know about a company prior to your interview include: What is their mission and vision? How are they involved in the community? Who are their key leaders and what are their roles within the organization? What are some recent achievements and news about the company? What makes this organization stand out among other key players in the field?
3. Be certain this particular company is a good fit for you. In doing your research, you should get a good idea as to whether or not an organization fits with your own personal values, work ethic, and personality. Don’t waste your time going to a job interview if you know it isn’t a place you want to work.
4. Use research positively during your interview. During your time researching a company, you may read something that paints an organization in a more negative light. If you can’t use the information you learn positively during the interview, don’t use it at all. For example, unless specifically asked by the interviewer, do not offer suggestions as to how you would do things differently. It is appropriate to say “I read this about your company, and I really loved it because…”
5. Know what to do if your research doesn’t provide any valuable information. The reality is some smaller companies may not have much of a web presence other than its own website. Learn what you can, but don’t be afraid to ask specific questions, such as “I am really interested in your company, and would like to know more about it. Can you tell me…”
You might be surprised how spending even 30 minutes researching a company can help you during an interview. The more prepared you are for the interview, the better you will position yourself as the best candidate for the job.