3 ways to researching a company pre-interview
This week I had a conversation with a Senior professional, that was asking my advise, around an interesting question he received during an interview : " Tell me something about the company that you couldn't find on our website". He mentioned, that this question bowled him for a six, as all he did, was quickly browse the company's website the night before the interview.
Yes a company's website is an important resource, helping you understand the bits & pieces. But this is just the beginning to really impress & of course to gather us much information, you will need to dig deeper.
Seems like a pretty simple step right? In practice though; doing that crucial investigating usually turns out to be easier said than done. Where should you look for company info? Is there more you can do besides a simple google search & company website scroll?
This article will guide you (just as I guided him) on a short journey through the top 3 go-to points, on researching a company pre-interview .
1. Get Social -
Along your application process with the company, someone you're interviewing with has most likely googled you (yes that does happen), or even scoured your social media accounts, so return the favour by finding out as much as possible about them & what their social happenings are. Check out the company's Twitter & Facebook profiles.
When you do Google them, read the news that pops us (Press Releases & Annual Reports), but don't forget to read the corporate blogs, and articles which are gold mines. Whether it's a post announcing or welcoming a new employee, technology they've implemented or a social initiative that they are involved in, this is the kind of stuff you should know about.
Don't just research the company be sure to do a little digging on your future boss. LinkedIn, is a good source to check out the profiles of the people you'll be interviewing with, it shows that you care and are doing your due diligence before your interview, and will also help you find commonalities between you and interview members.
2. Go Undercover to learn Company Culture.
Employee interviews are a great resource to glean a bit about the corporate culture of the company, as these are the people that experience the culture in real life. You would also be able to assess if the environment is professional or casual. When you do look for information from external sources, be sure to look for reviews or comments that people have given about the company, as this is also a great indication of work satisfaction, and fit. It's also a good idea to reach out to people who work in the same industry. Find out about the company's reputation. Tap your connections - do you know of anyone who works at the company. I'm sure if you ask, people are willing to help.
3. Gain insights about Competitors & the market
Aside from knowing as much as possible about the organisation you'll be interviewing with, it will really make you stand out amongst your peers to talk about the industry as a whole and even more impressive about competitors and how the company fits into the bigger market. For example, if the company is in the Mining Sector, first establish the commodity specialisation, secondly the operational type and thirdly the competition in the latter two. Also gain knowledge of the global market, and how it effects the current state of affairs. Find out as much about mergers & Acquisitions in the sector your interviewing company is, this would determine their financial health, stability and future prospects for you as a potential future employee. The best way to convince your interviewer that you know the company well is to be able to articulate what makes it special compared to their competitors.
With all this added information you'll be able to position yourself as the best candidate for the job. But you might also be wondering "So, what do i do with all this information?" Remember that your objective is two-fold : You firstly want to establish if the company that you are interviewing with is a good fit for you and secondly being able to talk about what makes the company unique and express your enthusiasm by showing off your knowledge.