Demonstrating knowledge about a company you’re interviewing for is a sure way to show a recruiter that you’re interested in the position. While that’s not surprising at all, it is astonishing how many people go into an interview unprepared.
Don’t be one of those people – in addition to impressing the interviewer with your knowledge of the company, doing a little background research of your own is an important process to understanding whether this is an organization you want to be a part of.
Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with these tips.
#1. What do they do?
Do your research and find a couple of interesting facts. What does the company actually do? You’ll be surprised at how many people don’t know the answer to this question. Go on the company website. Read their mission statement. Learn about their vision. Google them.
Check out their social media accounts (If you really want to be keen, follow/like their social media accounts). What, in their eyes, differentiates them from the rest of the competition? Even spending an hour researching will benefit you in the interview. Once you know what the company does, you’ll be able to better tailor your answers to better suit what they’re looking for.
#2. What’s their style?
It’s up to you how far you want to take this, but at the very least, go on the company’s website and social media. In addition to giving you a leg up for the interview, this will also give you a feel of whether this is a company that you might enjoy working at. The tone used in their communications will give you an idea into the organization’s culture.
Is the tone on their website super formal? This company probably has a more traditional culture (perhaps with a stronger sense of hierarchy) and their dress code most likely is more formal as well. This means when you’re dressing for the interview, think suit and tie, or at the very least a nice button down shirt and no jeans. Skirts/dresses should fall only slightly above the knees and a nice blouse is a must.
When you’re dressing up for this interview, ask yourself: does this dress code reflect who I am and who I want to be? I know – it’s just an interview, but every step is a chance for you to evaluate whether this might be a suitable opportunity for you.
#3. Is there room for growth?
Companies promote when it makes business sense for them. A company without growth potential can very easily turn into an organization that cannot support your personal career growth. Whether this is the be all and end all is completely up to you and your personal situation- but it’s definitely a good thing to know before you go in the room. Again, the company website and Google are great places to start. This can also be a good question to bring up with the interviewer.
#4. Who will be interviewing you?
It’s always good to know a little about the person who’ll be interviewing you. If the initial message notifying you of the interview doesn’t clarify who the interviewer will be, it doesn’t hurt to ask (ie. “Thank you for giving me this opportunity for an interview. May I ask who will be interviewing me?”). Once you know, try searching up this person on the company website or LinkedIn. What is their current position in this company? What is their role in relation to the position you’re interviewing for- are they potentially going to be your direct manager? How long have they worked in this company for? What’s their background/what did they do prior to joining this company?
The interviewer will have already performed a background check on you. It helps to walk in the room knowing a little about them as well, so that you’re both on more equal footing.
#5. How will the role fit into the bigger picture?
Once you’ve learned as much as possible about this organization, think about how the position you’re interviewing for will fit into the overall structure of the company. What is this company looking for specifically? What will you be expected to do? How will you be expected to act (ie. are they looking for a self starter? Someone who’s detail oriented? etc.)? It never hurts to go back through the original job description and read between the lines.
Every interview is a chance to improve your interview skills. Make the most of every chance by doing the research before walking in the room. In addition to better being able to impress the interviewer, being prepared will also help calm the nerves, which leads to a better interview in general.