Before your interview, there’s plenty to prepare for. What professional outfit will you wear? Do you have your CV printed out and ready to discuss? Will you arrive early enough so you’re not rushing or flustered? Do you know who you’ll be meeting with?
There’s plenty you can do to prepare for a job interview, but doing your research on the company before you arrive will help you respond to the interviewer’s questions with an expertise not everybody else will have. In reality, many job seekers apply for a job without researching the company, only to be surprised by what they’ll actually be doing in that role if they get hired.
Avoid the surprise, and research these top things to know about a company before going in for an interview. You’ll feel ready for the job and be able to communicate it to your interviewers.
Who they are and what they do
This may seem like an obvious step—after all, what else do you expect to talk about with the hiring manager? But what may not be so obvious is what to research or read about. Start with the company’s website—their “About” section will often detail the company’s history, founding year and senior leadership. It will also clarify the organization’s goals, company culture and any recent acquisitions. You can read about their products, major sales or company figures as well. This is one of the best resources to research first because it spells out exactly what the company wants you to know.
From there, you can search for the organization on social media or business news websites. Reading outside sources about the company will give you a more well-rounded view of who they are and whether you’re a good fit for their organization.
What your role would be within the company
If you work in sales, for instance, you might assume most companies are pretty similar in how they do business. But read the job description for the company before you apply to make sure you understand what comes along with the role. What if this organization has different standards for how its sales teams operate and earn?
Also write down any questions you have as you’re researching. If the role sounds different than what you had in mind, you might still be a good fit, but asking the interviewer about your qualifications and how he or she sees this role functioning both in the short and long term might give you a better picture of how it would look to work there.
Product and industry background information
If the company you’re interviewing for has spent the last two years transitioning its brand, or has launched a new product that is the star of its line-up, you should know about it. Not only will you win major points with the interviewer, but you’ll be able to speak more intelligently about the way you see yourself fitting in with the company.
In addition, find ways to connect these company focuses with your own experience. If you regularly use their brand, what are the benefits you see to their products? What strengths does the company have that affect your daily life? Or you can go broader and speak to how any clubs or volunteer work you’ve done have related to the goals of the organization. If you’ve tutored students and taught coding for the past several years, for instance, bringing up that experience and how it’s affected your outlook on the tech industry’s future could majorly impress your interviewer.
Preparing for an interview can be stressful. Yet, if you focus on the most important areas to research, you’ll ensure that you are ready to go into your interview and get the job.
Susan Ricker researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for CareerBuilder.