It’s easy to be so focussed with what a potential employer will want to know about you that you forget to investigate them. But it’s actually really important to do your homework about a company before you walk through their doors. Being informed about their business ahead of meeting them is a powerful tool in your interview armoury. Here’s a guide of how to get informed and make this knowledge work for you.

1. Check out the company website

This might sound like the most obvious piece of advice we can give you but the truth is that often people neglect to use this research tool to their advantage. A good company website is a mine of information – demonstrating just how this business wants the world to perceive them. You might discover important facts about the company’s past achievements, current projects and future goals. You’ll certainly be clear on the way they communicate as a business. Is it formal and corporate? Quirky and bursting full of personality? There might be vital information about their management structure and company culture that you can digest and discuss in your interview, proving you’ve gone the extra mile to find out more.

2. LinkedIn

As the business community’s social network of choice, LinkedIn has all manner of great content you can learn from. Find the company you’re interested in and check out how they use Linked In. It’s becoming ever popular for business people to post blogs and opinions about their field on this site, positioning themselves as experts. Digest their content carefully, take a look and see if the person who is interviewing you has a LinkedIn page and what they have to say on there. It could be useful to discover their career background and find out about the work they did in the lead up to working in the role they hold now.

3. Social Media

It’s now very rare that a company doesn’t have their own Twitter, Facebook or Google+ pages. It’s a good idea to ‘Like’ them on Facebook or ‘Follow’ them on Twitter and Google+ as you can be sure to get really up-to-date information. Often these social media channels give businesses a chance to showcase their personality and communicate in a more informal manner. Being clued up on how they use social media and how it’s working for them is likely to impress your interviewer.

4. Check out the competition

Finding out who your company’s closest competitors are, and then researching a little bit about how they are doing, will give you a great insight into wider landscape of their business. Being aware of the broader context will definitely prove to your potential employer that you have taken the time to consider the bigger picture. It should also give you some clues into how your company stacks up alongside the competition.

5. Check yourself out

There’s an obvious flipside to being able to find out all this company information over the web – if you can see them, they can see you! Especially if you have ‘Liked’ or ‘Followed’ a company, make sure that if they were to take a look at your own Facebook or personal webpage etc. they won’t see anything you wouldn’t want them to. Look at yourself online as an employer would and then remove anything that doesn’t show you in your best light.