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Do your research: what to find out about a company before a job interview

Monday, 26 March 2018

Following on from our post about what we can learn from Channel 4’s The Job Interview, the overwhelming lesson so far this series is undoubtedly to do your research about a company before you go for an interview!

It may seem like an obvious thing to do, however, it is amazing how many candidates just decide to wing it! One of the biggest mistakes made by people preparing for an interview is not knowing enough about the role or company. If you turn up for a interview, clearly you are hoping to work there, so make sure you can show you have done your research – appearing knowledgeable about the company where you would like to work proves that you have both taken the time to do some research and also have some genuine enthusiasm.

So, what information should you find out?

Start by visiting the company’s website and find out what the company is all about – their ethos, mission statement if they have one, and their goals. Most websites have an ABOUT section where this kind of information is often given, if it’s not right there on the home page. Does their company name stand for anything? Is it an acronym? This will help you to understand the company which is the most important thing to demonstrate in your interview.

Make sure you know what the company actually do! What does it do or sell? What do they do that makes them different? Make sure you know something about their industry and competitors well enough to discuss them. If you’ve not worked in the industry before they won’t expect you to be an expert but showing a good level of understanding and interest proves that you care and are motivated enough to want the role.

And check out the company on social media – look at the company accounts but make sure you also search the company name so you can see what other people are saying about them and how they interact with peers and customers.

And lastly, who the key players in the company? The CEO’s name and any other key senior management names? And if you can find out in advance who will be interviewing you, take a look at their LinkedIn profile if they have one and find out what you can about their role. And don’t forget their name!

In summary, these are the important things to make sure you know if at all possible:

  • What do they do/sell
  • The CEO and key players
  • The history and background of the company
  • The culture, mission and core values of the company
  • What is their Unique Selling Point (USP)
  • Who or what are their biggest competitors?

Being prepared will make you feel so much more confident going into an interview and will make sure you come across as enthusiastic and interested in the company – it will shine through even if you’re nervous so do your homework, it’s worth it!