Thursday, November 6, 2014

Research the Company Before an Interview

Finally. Finally you have an interview lined up for a job you really want. Now what? You have two options.  Option one put on your best suit and walk into to the company the day of your interview ready to wing it. Option two is to do some research and walk in confident ready to ace the interview. The more logical choice is obvious here. Do your research. Research is a key component to interviewing successfully, and a key step in landing the job you really want.

The first step to take when researching a company is a very simple one. Google the company. Google will provide you with a number different avenues to explore when researching a company.  Googling directions before the interview can be very helpful. It will help you game plan for traffic, know a good route, and have a reference of what the building looks like from the ground if you use the streetview function. Other resources like news articles, Wikipedia articles, and social media sites will all provide you with some great general information on the company itself. They will give you an idea of the company’s public perception, and what they have been up to lately. Googling the company and taking the time to read some of the articles, reviews, and poke around the social media sites will provide you some great talking points and questions to ask. It is important to have a few good questions about your position or the industry as a whole to ask. Asking good questions and being able to have an informed discussion will help the interviewers realize that you are genuinely interested in the company.

The next step to take would be to look around the company’s website. Find their news section or “about us” page and do some reading. This will give you an idea of how they view themselves and how they want to be viewed by others. Often the best thing to do is to find the company’s mission statement. This is the best place to get a general idea of what the company is doing and how they want to be perceived by everyone. Let the mission statement inform your discussion with the recruiters. For example, if it mentions specifically taking an ethical approach to recruiting be sure to remember that and work it into the conversation, or be prepared for an interview question that deals with ethics. If you are unsure about the dress code for an interview this is also a good place to start. If everyone is wearing suits and looking serious you should probably also wear a suit. If there are people in lab coats or dressed down a bit you probably don’t need to wear a suit. As a general rule of thumb you should never dress less than business casual.

One of the last steps, if you have the names of the people you will be interviewing with, would be to do a bit of reconnaissance on the interviewers from the company. The best place to do this is on Linkedin. Looking at their Facebook profiles can come off as a bit creepy. Linkedin is a safe place to look and is built for researching specific people’s professional profiles or companies themselves. Briefly look at their profiles and try and find some common ground to talk about. Maybe you went to the same school, worked at the same place without knowing it, or enjoy the same activities.  You can be sure that the interviewers have googled you and looked at your profile. If you cannot find common ground just knowing what your interviewers look like or a little bit about their past work history can help your confidence tremendously when interviewing. It takes a little bit of the shock out of walking into the interview and seeing the people for the first time. 

Finally the last, and arguably the most helpful, thing is to see if you know anyone personally, through a friend, or through an alumni association who works for the company. Try and connect with them and ask them any questions you may have. Questions like: what is the dress code like, what were you asked when you interviewed, what’s the company culture like, etc. These are all very helpful things to know. Often times a person within the company is your best possible resource. They can give you an honest and trustworthy opinion of the company, as well as answer some questions if you cannot find the answers to on the internet. It would also be a great chance to ask them to be a referral if you feel comfortable doing so.

Researching the company provides a sense of confidence that will help you possibly ace the interview. It is not like studying for a test; you don’t have to have every little thing memorized and ready to fire back at the people interviewing you. You just need enough information to have insightful questions and be able to confidently speak with the interviewers. Bottom line, researching is for developing confidence and showing that you genuinely want to work for the company. A little bit of research goes a long way when it comes to landing the job.

Stay tuned for our next article on 11/20/14 where we will walk you through a game plan of what to do the day of your interview. Until then, feel free to catch up on our previous articles, and be sure to check out our pages on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ for the latest news and opportunities available through Verum Staffing! If you are interested in speaking with us further regarding positions we have available, future opportunities, or interview/resume help, please send apply through our site  to set up an informational interview.  

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