Just picture this: it’s the big day of your job interview and you’re a little nervous.
You’ve got a professional looking resume, you’re dressed to impress and you’ve practiced your answers to standard interview questions such as “what would you say is your greatest strength and weakness?”
You arrive in plenty of time before the interview and then you’re called into the office for the big moment.
After introductions are made, your interviewer and potential employer asks you: “So how much do you know about our company?”
That’s when you freeze, mumble something incoherent and bomb out of the interview before you’ve even really started.
It turns out you that in your preparation for the interview you ticked all of the boxes except one: researching the company.
To avoid the above nightmare scenario, here are some tips to researching the company before you jump into the interview:
The most obvious place to start for your pre-interview research assignment is the company’s own website. Considering that just about every company you can imagine these days has a website, you can usually find plenty of information here. Whether it’s the services the company provides, the “About Us” page for an overview or an outline of the management structure or staff, the website of your potential future employer can be a wealth of vital information.
Bigger companies may also have a “news” section on their site, providing the latest information on what the company is up to. Other details such as the locations in which the business operates and its history are also well worth finding out before your interview.
After the company’s website, the next most logical place to search for information is LinkedIn. Even if the business or company doesn’t have its own profile, you can often find information about key staff and managers who work there. With LinkedIn’s search capabilities, you may even find a past employee of the company and touch base with them with a question about what the business was like to work for and any tips they might have for you before the interview. People are often happy and willing to respond to requests for advice or help, so don’t feel too shy about approaching someone via their LinkedIn profile.
The massive growth in popularity of Facebook, and to a lesser degree Twitter, over recent years means many companies and businesses maintain active pages and profiles on social media channels, particularly if that’s where they might attract new customers or clients. The great thing about Facebook or Twitter feeds maintained by companies is that they usually contain the latest news and developments the company is involved in.
As a final step, you might also consider doing some research about the broader issues and trends in the industry the company is involved in. Having an understanding and knowledge about the industry as a whole shows how committed and serious you are about the job you’re applying for and will help shape your answers to questions you might be asked. You’ll be able to talk about the state of the market, trends in the industry and identify any competitors they might have. Researching the industry and keeping up with the latest news relevant to that sector are a sure fire way to impress your interviewer.
Together with a professional resume and high standard of personal appearance, researching the company might just provide you with the edge you need to win the position in a highly competitive jobs market.
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