It’s easy to forget to focus on what a potential employer will want to know about, so don’t get caught out. It’s really important to do your homework about a company before you walk through their doors.
Being informed about a business is a powerful tool in your interview armoury. Here’s a guide on how to get informed and make this knowledge work for you.
Check out the company website
This is probably the most obvious piece of advice we can give you, but the truth is that people often neglect to use this research tool. A good company website is a goldmine 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. Digest this and discuss it in your interview, proving you’ve gone the extra mile to find out more.
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 LinkedIn. It’s becoming more popular for business people to post blogs and opinions about their field on this site, positioning themselves as experts.
Read 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 the role they hold now.
Using this information in your interview and relating it to your own experiences and job roles is a great way to start a natural rapport with the interviewer, as well as showing them that you know your stuff.
It’s now very rare that a company doesn’t have their own Twitter, Facebook or other social media pages. It’s a good idea to like them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and Google+ as you can get up-to-date information regularly.
Often, 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.
Mentioning recent promotions, offers, deals and other things advertised across their social media channels in your interview shows that you’re a fan of the company and already have great knowledge about them.
Check out the competition
Find out who your company’s closest competitors are, and then research them a little bit. Find out how they are doing, which will give you a great insight into the 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.
Questions about competitors and a quick SWOT analysis are common themes in interviews so be prepared to answer with the pros and cons of both the company you’re interviewing for as well as any threats.
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. 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.
Take this opportunity to share some great content on LinkedIn – either your own or an industry leader’s. Make it relevant to the job role or company you’re applying for and make it look natural. Keep it professional!
Employer review sites
Sites like glassdoor.com provide potential employees with an insight into what a company looks like from the inside. Companies can be tricky sometimes and use certain interview techniques which are unique to them.
Researching what your interview might look like as well as having a list of practice questions and scenarios to study from is an invaluable resource and you should use it to its full advantage. Reading up on other candidate’s interview experiences can arm you with information which can give you an edge over the competition, so make sure you read up on as much as you can.
Remember, if you need assistance with any aspect of your job search we’re always happy to help. Alternatively, check out our other blog posts on preparing for interviews and cleaning up your Facebook account.