So you aced the phone screening and have been asked to interview with the hiring manager. Now what? Here are a few things you can do to prepare for that next step and make a winning impression during the interview. Research the company!
Whether you're entirely familiar with the company or only have basic knowledge of their business prior to being asked to interview, it's important to take some time to familiarize yourself with the company beyond the basics. Going into an interview prepared to provide thoughtful comments about the business and how your own experience relates will undoubtedly impress the hiring manager and leave a lasting impression.
Here are four tips to help you with your pre-interview research.
1. Go straight to the source - The Company’s official website is the most obvious place to start your search and will likely be the most comprehensive source of information. You should be able to view the company's mission statement, history, news, and press releases as well as executive bios. In some cases, the website will even speak to a company’s employer brand and culture giving you a sneak peak of what it’s actually like to work for this company through employee videos, photos of the office, events they support, as well as a range of benefits and perks.
2. Reach out to your network - Look through your contacts on social media and see if you're connected to anyone who has been, or is currently, employed by the company. LinkedIn is an invaluable tool for this kind of research! If you find that you have an existing connection, reach out and see if that person can provide a little insight about the company culture, important business initiatives or even a little information about the person you will be interviewing with. By equipping yourself with some firsthand information, you'll improve your chances of providing the kind of insightful commentary the hiring manager is looking for.
3. Google the company – By Googling the company you will likely find tons of 3rd party information about your prospective employer such as news articles, events in which they have participated or support and even employee reviews on sites such as Glassdoor. It’s important to keep in mind that you may encounter negative reviews, some may be warranted and others may be left by former employees that have a vendetta with their previous employer. Whatever, the case may be, make sure you consider all sources of information before you form your own opinion on the company.
4. When information is limited –such as may be the case with privately held companies, you may not be able to get a full snapshot of the company’s business. In all likeliness, there will be enough information online to get you started. From there, be sure to prepare thoughtful questions to show the interviewer that you are legitimately interested in their business and eager to learn more.
It all comes down to preparation. The better prepared you are, the better your chances are to answer questions that will allow you to stand out from the competition. By devoting a few hours of your time to research, you have a great opportunity to demonstrate how your skills could benefit the company's current needs.
How have you researched a company before an interview? We would love to hear about your experience and tips in the comments!