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Researching a Company Prior to an Interview

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Make a positive impression by coming to an interview prepared with company knowledge

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Career Resources

Interviewing

Make a positive impression by coming to an interview prepared with company knowledge

By Kirsten Malenke

Preparing for an interview involves more than simply practicing commonly asked questions and making sure to bring your resume and best smile. Conducting research on the company beforehand - and not just five minutes before you head out the door - will help you demonstrate to prospective employers that you are truly interested in the job and would be a good fit for the company. You'll also be better prepared to both answer and ask questions.

Adam Hatch, a career advisor and hiring manager at resumegenius.com, an online resume builder, highly recommends that job-seekers do their research on potential employers before they interview. "The interview is arguably the most important part of the hiring process," says Hatch. "Going into one with no questions or information about the company you're applying for is a good way to appear unprepared." Most interviewers are going to ask prospective employees if they're familiar with what the company does and who they are, and if applicants are unaware they may appear "flippant and possibly lazy."

So what should you know about a company? ADVANCE has collected and condensed advice from several sites on what you should research as you prepare for an upcoming interview.

The skills and experience the company is looking for. This is one of the most important things to research in preparation for your interview. Knowing what skills the company values in a qualified candidate allows you to prepare yourself to be that person!

Researching Company

The basics. Usually, a company will have an "About" section on their website that supplies company information. LinkedIn is also a great source to learn more about a company. Find out who the managers and directors are, where the company is located - or if they have branches at other locations - the number of employees, and company history. Who are the clients of the company? What services does the company provide?

Company culture. Companies are looking to hire people who will fit in well with their culture - not just people who have the required skills. It's important to have a grasp of the company's mission and values - which might also be found in their "About" section. Visiting the company's social media pages can also help you get an idea of company culture. This is especially important to know if the interviewer asks what specifically attracted you to the company.

Recent news and events. It's always helpful to be aware of recent company events or achievements. As Hatch says, "Commenting on previous accomplishments of the company is a solid way of indicating you're informed and appreciate the work they do, which in turn indicates you might fit in well." Many companies have a page on their website dedicated to press releases and event announcements; a Google news search might also turn up recent noteworthy events.

The field as a whole. Consider reading up on the industry as a whole to understand how the company fits into the grand scheme of things. Does the company have any major competitors? What sets this company apart from its competitors?

Company reviews. There are several websites that offer an overview of the company in addition to employee reviews, salary estimates, and interview experiences. Having "insider" information might help you prepare for specific questions and give you an idea of how the company operates.

The interviewer. You may not always know beforehand who you will be meeting with, but if you do, it's useful to find out a bit about the person (or people). The company website or LinkedIn may give you an idea of the interviewer's past experiences, current position, and history with the company. Having this background knowledge might help you connect with the interviewer and give you an idea of what type of questions to ask.

Lastly, as Hatch stresses, do your homework so you know what you're getting into. "It isn't just about scoring points in the interview - it's about being able to competently perform in a new job," he explains. The more you know about the company and the duties of the position you're interviewing for, the better you will perform in the job itself if hired.

Kirsten Malenke is a staff writer at ADVANCE. Contact: kmalenke@advanceweb.com

Resources

Huhman, H. 7 Things to Research Before Any Job Interview. Glassdoor. https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/7-research-job-interview/

The Muse. The Ultimate Guide to Researching a Company Pre-Interview. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2014/05/22/the-ultimate-guide-to-researching-a-company-pre-interview/2/#5d8de4591ab4

Wilson, K. 5 Things to Learn About a Company Before Your Job Interview. LiveCareer. https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/learn-about-company


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