You’ve spent days maybe even months polishing your finest resume, scouring the Internet for the best job postings, and writing libraries worth of your strongest cover letters. Now, you finally get called in for an interview.
Getting through a job interview is one of job seekers’ most challenging tasks. But don’t fret. With some preparation, you can shine through your interview and show your future employer that you’re the one person who can perform the role efficiently and push the company forward.
With that said, it’s essential that you get to know the company before your interview.
Research The Company
With the Internet at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to research a company. However, this doesn’t mean a quick glance at the “About Us” section of the company’s website will do. But it’s a start.
Exploring a company’s website can help you learn its values, culture, mission, and goals. As an employee, you’re going to play a role in that. So keep it in mind and make sure it’s something you want to do.
If the company is in the news, its website may have a Press Section with the latest stories. Clicking the “News” tab after a Google search of the company will also generate some articles. Read through some of these pieces for a glimpse into their latest activities.
Maybe they’re working with a new client or hired a new CEO. Maybe they’re releasing a new product or launching a new project. This will give you an opportunity to express how your skill set can help them pursue these goals. For instance, the company may be looking to embrace digital, and you have a proven track record in multimedia.
At the very least, reading through some of these articles will help you answer the “What do you know about us?” question in the interview. It can also help you avoid asking the wrong questions after an interview. (Always have questions. More on that later).
Keep the negative press, if any, out of the conversation. If you’re so compelled to bring it up, this company may not be the best fit for you.
It’s also good to know about their financials: Sales, revenue, market share, etc. Databases like Hoovers.com can make this information easier to find. It can also identify the company’s competitors. Learn how the company stands out.
Study the Job Description
Employers want to know how well you will perform the task at hand. So analyze the job description, and be prepared to talk about how you have met these requirements based on your job experiences.
Have a memory bank of examples to pull from.
Look through each requirement and ask yourself: Where and when have I done this and achieved fantastic results? How can I prove I’m good at this?
This may seem obvious, but know your resume (the one the employer has on file for you). Your interviewee will ask you questions about your previous roles as they relate to the open position. So take a stroll down memory lane and think about your jobs, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and achievements.
Have examples of job experiences prepared for each. Not only will this boost your confidence, but you won’t have to stumble and endure awkward silence as you think of a time when you had to explain one of these attributes.
Research The Interviewers
You can bet hiring managers will stalk you on social media before your interview. So why not return the favor?
Start on their LinkedIn profiles. These will tell you about their experiences and whether you have similar hobbies or interests. Maybe you belong to the same organizations or have worked for the same companies. As long as you make them relevant to the job, any of these details could help you generate some questions to ask after the interview. (Ex. We both worked here. How have you utilized the skills you learned there here?)
Sometimes, co-workers would post blurbs about the person interviewing you on his or her LinkedIn profile. If you will be working on a team with your interviewee, these will give you valuable insight into what it’s like to do so.
LinkedIn can also show you whether you have connections that work for the company. Don’t be afraid to send a friendly, well-written message asking to know a little more about the company as a potential employee. Some of the best insight you’ll get about a company or job comes directly from insiders.
See what your interviewees are saying on Twitter. This could also help you learn more about the company’s latest activities.
Looking up the company on Facebook and Twitter can give you insight into what clients, customers and co-workers are saying about the company. It can also offer a glimpse into company culture.
Whether you fit into that culture can be critical in the hiring process.
You can also learn about a company by visiting sites like Glassdoor, where employees and former employees post reviews about their jobs and the company. This is also a solid place to look for salary-range figures based on the job title and location.
Hope this helps. Stay tuned for our next article where we explore some of the most commonly-asked interview questions and how to answer them.