Research the employer BEFORE the interview
You’ve finally scored that big interview, and you’re riding a wave of confidence you haven’t felt in a while.
After you call your best friend, post your news on Facebook, and decide what to wear, you’ve got some homework to do so you can make a great first impression.
You’ve probably formed some great questions to ask the employer, but you should know plenty about the employer before you ever walk through the front door. Here are some areas you should study about your potential employer before you head out to that big interview:
1. News – What’s new about the company? Is it a new product, a new client, or maybe even an award that someone at the company just earned? If it’s in the news, it’s being talked about at the company. Look on the company web site, or do a Google search to find out what the hot topic is at the company. Then, if the subject comes up at your interview, you’ll contribute to the conversation and look like you fit right in.
2. Company Organization – While you’re on the company web site, stay a while and take a look around. You’ll find that many corporate web sites are organized the same way the company is organized. At a glance, you can learn about the different divisions, product lines, and service areas. You’ll find out about their international presence and, with a few more clicks, how they’re organized as well. The potential employer spent plenty of resources putting together that web site so the world can learn more about them. Take them up on their generous offer!
3. Learn their Language – Many companies have their own jargon. The way they communicate becomes so natural to them that it spills out on to their web site. Their jargon might be the words they use to describe their products, their customers, or the business climate. Some companies are steeped in their own TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms), and you’ll probably find them used on their web site as well. Learn their jargon, and be familiar with their use of acronyms. In your interview, the company-specific terms won’t confuse you, and you might use a few to show how you can run with the rest of the pack.
4. Learn About Your Interviewer – If you have the names of the people you will be interviewing with, do a quick Google search on them to find out about their background. Also, feel free to check out their LinkedIn profile. Find out a little about their background and maybe some things you have in common. It can put you more at ease when you know about the person before the meeting, leading to a more natural conversation.
Caution: Don’t go all stalker on your interviewer! Google searches can reveal plenty of information about someone, but you need not delve into someone’s personal life. Also, keep in mind that your interviewer can see when you’ve viewed their LinkedIn profile. That information is fair game; they put it out there. Simply be careful that you don’t become overly zealous with your research.
5. Competitors – Who are the company’s competitors? Next to the company’s news of the day, hiring managers are usually up on who the competition is and what they are doing as well. A good way to look like you’re a good potential team member is to be up on the names of the competitors, and maybe a couple of their products. Again, Google is your friend in finding this information. Simply do a search on the industry terms and plenty of competitors will come roaring forward.
6. Learn from Other Interviewers – Glassdoor is a fast-growing resource to find out about interview and workplace conditions. You’ll find out what questions some interviewers have asked, salary reviews, and overall workplace reviews. Don’t base all your opinions about an employer on what you see posted on Glassdoor, but it’s good to find what those who have been there have to say.
You’ve come this far; you have the interview and you’re in a position to impress. Do your homework ahead of time and you’ll own that interview.