One of the most important aspects of the job hunting process is interview prep. Without proper preparation for an interview, job hunters significantly reduce their chances of making a great first impression and landing a job.
Taking the time to thoroughly research the company you will be interviewing with is the key to interview prep. Here are 5 research tips that will help you effectively prepare for an interview and increase your likelihood of putting an end to your job search.
1. Understand Valued Skills and Experience
Every organization values different types of skills and experience levels. As an interviewee, you should be well aware of what the company looks for in a qualified candidate. You can discover valued skills of a specific company by reading between the lines of various jobs they post.
When researching LeafFilter on their multiple job descriptions and LinkedIn page, the nation’s largest gutter protection company, you’ll notice that the company values creativity, team players, and passion. Similar to LeafFilter, Northrop Grumman, a leading global security firm, places great value on creative solutions and innovation.
2. Familiarize Yourself with Recent News and Company History
You shouldn’t wait until you’re actually in an interview to learn about the latest company happenings. To find information on recent company news and events, you can explore the press release section of the company’s website. Most companies also post their recent news on popular social media outlets such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You should also check out the company’s “About” page to learn the basics of how and when the company got started, their mission, and any other information unique to the company.
3. Know the Culture
Culture varies from company to company. Two companies that may be selling the same type of product or providing a similar service can have completely different cultures. Let’s take a look at the culture of SquareSpace, a successful startup in New York City. The company prides itself on a, “flat, open, and creative,” culture.
There are very few levels of management in between employees and executives. In addition, this startup provides all employees with a comprehensive assortment of perks that include flexible vacations, fully stocked kitchens, guest lecturers, and 100 percent coverage of health insurance premiums. Other startups may offer their employees with limited benefits and a more hierarchical culture. The more you know about the company’s culture, the better you can tailor your answers to match their values and expectations.
4. Learn Clients, Products, and Services
As a potential employee, you must have a solid idea of the type of work the company does. It’s likely that an interviewer will ask you what you know about the company’s clients, products, or services so it’s best to get acquainted with this information. Although you won’t be an expert on the clients, products, or services of the organization, interviewers will expect you to have some basic knowledge on their core competencies. Social media pages and third party review sites can give you a thorough view of the landscape, and help you glean relevant information to prepare for these types of questions
Depending on the type of job you’re interviewing for, you may also want to do additional research in your realm. For example, if you’re applying to the digital marketing department, you may want to look at the company’s social media platforms, e-mail program, and other relevant digital marketing channels. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll be for any question they may ask you.
5. Research the Interviewer
You should know more than just the interviewer’s name and job title. By doing some research on the individual who will interview you, you’ll have a better chance of connecting to them and starting up a meaningful conversation. Once you research the interviewer on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or the company website, you may find that you two have some common interests and affiliations, such as a common alma mater or similar volunteer experience.
You may also find information to help you tailor your references. For example, if you went to the same college, a reference from a well-known alumni could seal the deal.
If you make an effort to perform research on these items, you will be well prepared for the interview and any potential interview question that may come your way. Best of luck in your job search and remember, proper preparation is sure to make you a standout among other candidates that fail to spend time researching the company.
About the Author: Elizabeth Phillips is a freelance writer with a focus on career planning. She is always looking for the latest and greatest ways to improve her resume. Elizabeth welcomes your feedback via email.