How to research for an interview

Posted by | 2nd April 2014 | Tutorial

How to research for an interview

To give yourself the edge, research the employer organisation and interviewers before a job interview. In this age of the Internet and business networking, it’s getting increasingly easier to do this.

Interviewers will expect you to have some knowledge of the organisation before you meet them. By researching the interviewers as well, you’ll know what to expect from them, and what they expect from you.

If you don’t know who your interviewers will be, call the person who invited you to the interview and ask them.

How to get all the company info you need

1. Start with the job description

The organisation will expect you to have read through the job specification before you apply, let alone before the interview. Check it thoroughly and glean information on your department or function area.

What are the recruiters really looking for? How do your skills and experience match up to that?

2. Use the Internet

Go to the company’s website and read up on it. Browse other sites – like news sites and social networks – for other mentions of the company. What products/services do they offer? What is their reputation like?, who are their competitors?

3. Read the small print

While visiting their  website, check out Investor Relations and the sitemap. You’ll be surprised at how much useful information you can get there.  See how the company is performing and what the turnover / share price is.  Gain that little extra insight to shine above the rest.

4. Connect through LinkedIn

Use LinkedIn to find people within the business, what they do and perhaps they’re happy to have a chat with you. Check your own connections and even your shared connections for greater access to people.

5. Watch the news

Look for mentions of the organisation or your interviewers in the press. Where has the business been mentioned, what for and with whom?  What are the latest developments in the company and which areas are they focusing in on?

If your interviewers are quoted anywhere, what do the quotes reveal about them? How does the article describe the interviewers’ roles within the company? Does it tell you anything about their background history?

6. Get on the phone

Call the company’s HR department or reception and ask about the company, the role, the department, and how the business is going.  Sometimes you’ll be amazed at how much information they have and are willing to share.  They could even send you some brochures.

7. What does your agency know?

If you found the job vacancy through a recruitment agency, ask the following questions:

  • What do you know about my interviewers?  What’s their role and their style?
  • What’s going on in the business at the moment?
  • What are they looking for specifically?
  • Why has the agency put me forward for the job?
  • Have other candidates been sent? How many?
  • If so, what happened? What was asked, expected, what went well/wrong?
  • Is the company hiring in other areas?
  • Why are they hiring?

By doing some proper research, you’ll go into the interview prepared, feeling more relaxed and confident. The interviewers will not only pick up on the fact that you’ve done your homework, but also that you’re calm and approaching the experience with the right attitude.

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