Own your Job Interview! Research tips from the experts
When you’re lucky enough to be invited for an interview, you need to make sure that you do your research prior to the interview. The employer clearly thinks you are good enough for the job, so you’ve made it past the first hurdle… now don’t let yourself down by not knowing enough about the company giving you an opportunity to launch or continue your career!
As a recent graduate myself I’ve been to a fair few interviews, and the ones which I haven’t prepared for enough in terms of researching the company have always been the worst. Not only are employers looking for you to be able to showcase your skills by using your previous experience as back up, but they also need to make sure that you’re the right fit for the company.
Find out about who will be interviewing you
When applying for jobs, it gets very tempting to apply to literally anything you can find! The problem with this approach is if you get an interview for a job that you’re not too sure about, this can put you in an awkward position and effectively waste your and the employers’ time. The company research should start when you are looking for jobs. Before you decide to hit apply, take the time to look at the company’s website, if you do get an interview would you actually like to work there?
Ask people you know in your chosen industry for hints and tips
When you get confirmation of an interview, you should be told who your interview is with. Look them up on LinkedIn, or if it’s a job with a bigger company, google them and see how much you can find out about them. If you can establish a common ground with your interviewer this will put you more at ease as you’ll have something to talk about, and this could increase your chances of being employed. Maybe they went to your university, or they did a similar course to you, or maybe you can find out about their interests in general. If you’ve put the effort in to find out about who’s interviewing you, this will shine through and show that you have a good work ethic. If you don’t get told who your interviewer is, it would be a good idea to ring up whoever emailed you and ask who will be interviewing you so you can get a head start with your research.
Who are their competitors?
When researching the company it’s also a good idea to find out who their competitors are, knowledge of the market will again give you something to talk about during your interview. If possible talk to people you know who work in your chosen industry, they might know people at the company you’re being interviewed for and be able to give you tips.
Are you up to date on current affairs within your chosen company?
Make sure that you’re up to date on the current affairs of your chosen company, if they have a blog take a look and see if there’s any posts on new deals/business. For bigger companies, look at the relevant press for their industry and see if there are any recent stories about them. If you can get access to their annual report, this would be worth taking a look at so you know what stage the business is at and will again show that you know what you’re talking about and that you actually want to work for them.
Depending on the type of company you can really stand out by getting hold of the companies latest accounts from companies house. For a small fee of a £1 you can find out information including Directors, nature of business, annual return, accounts and date of incorporation amongst other details.
Another good source of information can be found at glassdoor.com. This website acts as a forum for people to post about their job interview experiences and what it’s like to work at certain companies. This could also give you information about what kind of interview questions to expect and will give first-hand unbiased opinions from employees about what it’s like to work at certain companies.
Don’t give your interviewer any chance to doubt your suitability for the job! If you’re prepared there’s no stopping you, good luck with your search!