We’re always impressed with candidates who clearly have done some research on a company even before their first interview with us. The idea of researching a company before an interview is not new, but somehow many candidates still fall short here. Browsing a company’s website on your phone in the parking lot ten minutes before your interview is not enough; you should be prepared with specifics, and it’s easier than ever to do. Here are a few tips.
Be ready at the first interview. This may be with a recruiter, not with the actual firm in question. Even so, assuming you know which company the position is with, you should be fully prepared to demonstrate that knowledge even though there’s no one from the company there.
Dive deeper. Knowing what the company does and how long they’ve been in business is a start, but only a start. Read their history, their About Us page, their Mission Statement and try to understand what really makes them tick, and what would make you a good fit there. Then go beyond what the company says about itself and see what others think via social media, Google Reviews and other online feedback mechanisms.
Know the players. Learn more about not just the firm, but the main players including your interviewer. You may be able to do this on the company website, but if not, LinkedIn has made it easier than ever. Know the background of everyone you’ll be speaking with, down to where they went to school. You may be surprised at where you’ll find some common ground, and that will never hurt you in an interview.
The final step? Think about the questions you’re likely to be asked and how to gracefully work your newfound knowledge into the answers. Be ready with some insightful questions of your own as well. Showing that you’ve done your homework in more than a cursory fashion can give you a huge leg up on the competition.