Put these 5 essential job interview preparation tips into practice to stand out from the crowd.
You’ve probably heard that it’s important to research a company before you sit down for a job interview, but do you really know what to look for? Having a strong knowledge of the company and job will put you in a better position to answer tough questions and present yourself as the best candidate, so here are five of the most important things to research before your job interview.
1. The company’s mission, values and culture
It goes without saying that you should know what the company does, but you can take it a step further by researching why and how they do it.
What is the company’s mission? What is the company culture like? What sort of values do they promote? You can usually find the answers to these questions by looking for the “About Us” or “Our Story” page on the company website. Twitter and Facebook along with newsletters can also tell you more about the culture and office environment.
2. Its clients and competitors
Understanding the company’s clients and competitors will help you to speak more knowledgeably about what attracted you to this job and why you would be a good fit.
What sort of customers or clients are they trying to attract? What are current customers saying about the company on review sites and social media? What products or services are most popular and why?
Who are the company’s biggest competitors are and what they are doing differently or how they are setting themselves apart is also important? LinkedIn’s can be particularly useful for this as it will show companies or organisations that are similar to the one you’re viewing.
3. Achievements, news or events
Find out what is being said about the company in the news and what some of its biggest achievements have been. Has it won any awards or been actively involved with the local community in any way?
The company’s press page is a good place to start, but Google news can also help you uncover any local or national coverage of the company, its CEO or employees. Researching the industry as a whole can also help you understand any challenges the company may currently be dealing with.
4. The job description
Although you probably already know what the job entails, thoroughly studying the job description will give you a better idea of the skills and experience the company values, which can help you present yourself in the best light when the “why should we hire you?” question inevitably pops up.
Read the job posting carefully and pay attention to any specific skills or keywords mentioned. For instance, if it emphasises previous experience, you can think about how your previous jobs or schooling have prepared you for this opportunity even if you don’t have experience in this particular job or industry.
5. The interviewer
Knowing who will be interviewing you gives you an advantage of being able to put a face to the name and do a little research on them. Interviewees aren’t always told who will be interviewing them in advance, though, so you may need to do a little digging.
The first thing you can do is look for clues in the email or information you’ve received about the interview. If you can’t find any names, you can either respond to the email or call the contact number you’ve been given and politely request the interviewer’s name.
Once you know their name, you can look them up on sites like LinkedIn or Twitter to find out a little bit about their professional background, position with the company, and any interests you may share.