Job interview research is a critical part of preparing for an employment interview. But what do you actually do with that information? How should you use your knowledge of the company during your interview to strengthen your candidacy, demonstrate fit and get the job?
First, be thorough. Approach your target research with the same commitment you brought to a major term paper in college. Be sure to set aside enough time to gather and synthesize as much information as you can find. The more detailed and obscure your information, the more you will impress your interviewer with your preparation and your knowledge. Even more importantly, the depth of your target research demonstrates your commitment to joining their team. Here are some leads on where to look, what to look for, and what to do with all the information once you’ve found it.
WHERE TO LOOK:
- Always start with the company website – look at all pages, click every link
- Do a Google search on the company, its CEO and its leadership.
- Check out financial reporting sites: Hoovers.com, SEC, ZoomInfo, Dun & Bradstreet, Google Finance
- Look at social media pages of the company and current employees: LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, Glass Door, Yelp, company Facebook page
- Also: Industry/Professional Association websites, local chamber of commerce website, Job-Hunt.org, Directory Job Search Resources and Employers in the U.S. by State, Company Alumni and Military & Government “Alumni” Group Directory
- Finally, if possible, talk to former or current employees.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
- Who they are and what they do:
- Company structure, departments, subsidiaries and locations
- Products and services
- Organizational brand
- Market, clients, customers
- Basic financials, investments and budgets
- People, leaders, team members
- Past and recent successes, achievements, awards
- Recent failures, lawsuits, settlements or challenges
- Industry trends
- Future plans
2. What they care about:
- Company philosophy
- Company history
- Mission statements
- Vision statements
- Core values
YOU’VE DONE THE JOB INTERVIEW RESEARCH, NOW WHAT?
Once you’ve gathered all the info, here are a few ways you can plan to use it:
Make connections between who they are and your own strengths. For instance, if the company has distinguished themselves as leaders in innovation, make sure they know that you are an innovative thinker. Or, if the company just produced ground-breaking research, connect that your own track record of research excellence.
Demonstrate that you offer value for the challenges they face. A new company just getting off the ground? Tell them about your previous successes with new companies and how you can help them grow their brand.
Make a personal connection to their core values. Show them you would be a great fit for the company culture. For example, if the company is very community-oriented, make sure to let them know about your own community involvement.
Show your commitment. Increase your likability by demonstrating your strong desire to work for them. Try to find a way to drop a not-well-known piece of relevant information you’ve discovered into the conversation. Let them see that you cared enough to take the time to do deep research.
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