5 Essentials You Should Always Research Before a Job Interview
No doubt you’ve heard that preparing for that upcoming job interview is key to landing the position you want, but knowing exactly what you’re supposed to prepare for is difficult. There’s no way to know how the interviewer will perceive you or anticipate the questions you’ll be asked. That might make prepping seem like a lost cause, but rest assured that there are steps you can take to shine in your next interview.
The most important? Doing your research. A little research on a company can go a long way towards helping you anticipate what you’ll be asked in an interview. It will also help you formulate questions to ask your interviewer. Here are five things that you simply must research before any interview.
1. The Organization’s Mission, Values and Vision
Understanding an organization’s mission and values leads to understanding the company’s vision. If you can’t find information about the specific organizational vision or outlook that the company has, ask about it during your interview. Your interviewer will be impressed that you’ve done your research and are invested in better understanding the organization.
Recent Changes, Accomplishments and News Items
Go to Google, type in the name of the organization that you’re interviewing with, and then take a close look at the news results. Make note of any new products or services that the company has introduced to the public or any major announcements that have been made regarding company leadership and direction. If you’re interviewing with a publicly held organization, see if you can find any recent newsletters or notices sent to investors.
Key Clients or Consumer Segments
You wouldn’t walk into an important interview without knowing what products or services a company offers, but don’t forget to do research on the specific clients or consumers the organization serves too. Maybe you’re interviewing with a software company. Find out who its biggest clients are. Identify specific businesses or consumers subsets that the company serves. Doing so will help you more accurately answer interview questions about what you can contribute to the company’s economic success.
The Big Players in the Organization
No matter the organization with which you’re interviewing, it’s important that you can identify key figures such as the CEO, owner or operator. This will help you avoid embarrassment if you’re asked what you think of a company leader and can give you insight into the skills and professional behaviors that the organization values. Of course, it’s important that you focus on the professional activities of company leaders, not their personal lives or gossip-column items.
The Skills that the Organization Most Values
There’s no way to know why you’re a good fit for a given company if you don’t know what skills and abilities it most values. Before your interview, go over the job description or job announcement to which you responded. List out the skills that are required or expected for the position. You can also read online reviews from current and former employees to learn what the company is really looking for when it comes to job performance, search Glassdoor for company reviews.
Once you’ve identified the skills that the organization values, evaluate which you possess and which you need to work on. Being able to speak candidly about your current skills and professional development needs in an interview is priceless. It shows your interviewer that you not only understand the position but that you’re serious about your own professional development too.
When you go into your interview, be sure that you demonstrate that you’ve done your research about the organization. Simple phrases such as “I saw on your website that…” or “I noticed that your mission statement says…” will let your interviewer know that you’ve spent time preparing and are serious about the job at hand. Even if you don’t get that specific job, you’ll have gained valuable insights about your industry that you can take into future interviews.