To prepare for your next interview, rehearsing answers for common interview questions just isn’t going to cut it. Employers expect you to have done your research – about them. But where do you start?
Below you will learn what information to seek out and which platforms are best to source the desired information. Today we have access to an abundance of information about prospective employers and educating yourself may just make you the standout candidate.
You’ve applied for the role, so you should know what the job entails. But take another (close) look at the job description to be sure you’re clear on what the requirements are. If you can make parallels between the job duties and your experience, that will show the interviewer that you’re a qualified candidate.
Aside from the expectations of the role, consider what the company values in its candidates. You may be able to tell from looking at its website or social media that the company values people who are innovative or creative, for example. The interviewer may not flat-out ask about culture fit, so be sure to interweave those values into the conversation. Use LinkedIn to see if you have any first- or second-degree connections who work at the prospective employer. You can reach out to these connections and ask what their employer values. This will give you the inside scoop.
Additionally, Glassdoor.com is a good place to look up reviews and salaries reported by current and previous employees. The site even breaks down this information by role type, so you can compare your offer to what others doing the same job (at the same company) make.
A basic search to find out what products and services the company offers is a good place to start in learning about the business. It’s a bonus if you can find out some of the company’s clients, or even what types of clients or industries it serves. This will prepare you to talk the talk when you go into the interview room. You can learn the specifics about offerings by reading blogs and white papers at the company website. Case studies will often give you deeper insight, including client names or descriptions.
Study up on the latest news regarding the company by perusing its press releases. This will show the interviewer that you’re current on company happenings and makes for a relevant conversation topic. An events calendar will be able to tell you if the company has participated in any notable trade shows or other industry events that are worth mentioning during the conversation.
Beyond the basics, you should see if you can discover what the company culture is. A Columbia University study showed the probability of job turnover at a company with high company culture is 13.9 percent whereas one with low company culture soars to 48.4 percent. So, it’s in your best interest to see if you’ll be a good fit for the company. Pro tip: Look at the company’s branded hashtags, as this will enable you to view employee-generated content. These posts will show a truer story than the social media content the company puts out on its corporate page. Reviews on Glassdoor.com will also provide an honest look inside the company.
As a starting point, simply look through the email chain from the recruiter and see if there is any correspondence between the recruitment professional and hiring manager and/or interviewer. If this doesn’t provide insight, it’s OK to politely ask your contact who you will have the pleasure of meeting during the interview process. Having this information is especially important for a panel or multistage interview process – because you’ll need to research every participant.
Once you learn who you will be speaking with, look at their education – the type of degree and which school they attended. This may allow you to make a connection with the interviewer. Notice where the hiring manager previously worked and how long they’ve been with the current company. You can ask questions based on this information: “I see you just started with the company in January. What do you like best about working here so far?” “I noticed you’ve been working here for more than a decade. What has kept you working at the company all these years?”
Most companies have an executive page on the website where you’ll be able to make note of the key personnel. If you’re interviewing for a sales position, pay particular attention to the sales executive. It’s a good idea to look at this person’s bio as well as their LinkedIn profile and other professional social media accounts. Just by perusing their posts and tweets, you should be able to discern what’s important to them. Knowing what topics are of interest to them will allow you to inspire meaningful conversation during the interview.
Doing your due diligence before heading into the interview room will show the hiring manager you’re serious about getting the job. Good luck!