The Importance of Doing Your Research Before Interviewing
Interviewing for a new job can be both stressful and exciting. Stressful because we’re putting ourselves out there in hopes that the interviewer will realize our talent and expertise, and exciting because it’s a new company with fresh opportunities for us to explore.
As a recruiter, I believe that in order to become a stand-out candidate during the hiring process, you need to find out as much as you can about the company before you go on the interview. In addition to learning about the company’s culture, mission and values and whether it’s a good fit for you, you’ll be prepared to answer interview questions and position yourself as the best possible candidate.
So, where do you start? There are many places you can go for research, but here are a few you may want to consider:
- Company website—Take some time before your interview to use the Internet to discover as much as you can about the company. Visit the “About Us” page for information about its history, products and services and management team. You can also usually find information here about an organization’s mission statement and company culture. And I recommend reading any blog posts for more insight about how the company publicly portrays itself.
- LinkedIn—Research the company’s management team as well as the person conducting your interview. And if you have any connections there, consider reaching out to him or her. In addition to putting in a good word for you, he or she may also be able to give you more insight about the company.
- Social Media—For a good understanding of how the company wants to be viewed by its customers, visit its Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ pages. And don’t forget to ‘like’ or follow the company for any updates.
- Glassdoor—This helpful site has valuable information for job seekers in its Interview Questions and Reviews section. Although the reviews can help give you a better sense of the company’s culture—a word of caution—employees may leave reviews when they’re unhappy so take them in stride. The most accurate complaints are those which tend to be repeated on the site.
- Google—Searching Google and Google News for information and articles about the company and its products can be invaluable. If you come across something negative, don’t be afraid to broach it with your interviewer. However, you should be mindful about your tone and how you address sensitive topics. I was once working with a candidate who had done his research and discovered that a buyer hadn’t seen a sales representative in more than six months. The candidate brought the situation to my attention during our interview and I assured him that I would pass along the information. Needless to say, the hiring manager was both impressed and appreciative and the candidate was eventually hired.
- Your Network—If you know someone who works for the company don’t be afraid to ask for their help. You never know who can give you an interview edge over the other candidates.
In addition to learning about the company, you should also have a working knowledge of its industry and competitors. If you’re working with a recruiter, make sure you take notes while doing your research and ask the recruiter to help answer any questions you can’t answer.
Doing research is time consuming, but it can give you a distinct edge over your competition. It will help make your responses to questions more compelling, show how interested you are about the job and emphasize how you can add value to the company’s bottom line.
by Trish Ryan
Trish Ryan is a regular contributor to PrincetonOne’s blog. With over 25 years of experience in the recruiting and staffing industry, Trish has helped a wide variety of companies from Fortune 100s to Start Ups, find the right talent for their organizations. Committed to providing timely industry information, Trish’s goal is to ensure that both clients and candidates experience a positive working relationship with their recruiters.
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