What to Research for Job Interview Preparation
Congratulations! You got the interview!
Now you have to prepare for the interview.
- Where am I going?
- What am I wearing?
- What excuse will I tell my boss?
We are usually on top of those things but the research portion seems to be a bit of a grey area.
The research preparation for the interview is the most beneficially impactful element of the interview process that most people DON'T DO properly. Also, interview preparation is one of the 3 things we have complete control of in the interview process.
The most common negative feedback I hear from hiring managers after an interview is,
“He did not seem like he did much research.”
So what should you research?
Here is my 5 step Interview Research Guide
Read the website for an overview. I usually start on the website like reading anything else; left to right, start at the top (1st tab and the dropdowns, 2nd tab and so on.) If it is a product website like Staples, make sure you scroll to the bottom for “Corporate Information” after you familiarize yourself with the products and the process of purchasing.
Dig in deep to your target areas of the website. There are portions of the website that you either need to commit to memory or take copious notes.
Press Releases, News, Media and/or Investor Relations
Mission Statement, Credo and/or History
Careers, “What it is like to work here”, etc.
Product Pipelines and Phases (in Pharmaceutical companies)
3. Check out the company's Social Media presence. Be aware of the branding messages on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Yes, even if you are an Accountant! If your job search is confidential, there is no need to “Like” or “Follow” now but you should be aware of the company's social media efforts.
If you are not a confidential job seeker, yes, fan-up!
4. Research the Management Team, Hiring Managers and anyone else you will speak with. Start with Google-ing their names but this is one of my favorite uses of LinkedIn. Be on the lookout not just for schools and prior companies but also publications, twitter pages and hobbies. If they tweet, YOU ARE IN LUCK as you can tell a lot about personalities, views and interests from what they tweet.
5. Google the company like it’s a blind date! See what else is out there being said about the company.
How does all this information help you?
- Company related news that might not be on the site.
- The company’s competitors
- The company’s industry
- Hoovers profile
- Financial information and statistics. If they are publicly traded, I really like Yahoo Finances
Just referring to any of it in conversation, shows you have “done your research.” How that translates in and interview….
“He must really want this job.”
“This is not just another job interview for her.”
“She is really taking this seriously.”
This information will help you come up with better questions than your competition.
Interviewers understand that there are a few generic interview questions you will ask but they really want to hear questions that only pertain to ONLY this interview.
I have seen a candidate get a job offer over another candidate when it was “neck and neck” just because she asked how they plan on dealing with a lawsuit from a competitor.
The interviewer said,
“We like her...she thinks like a business person.”
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Posted by:Saundra LeePresident, Dubin & Lee