How to research a prospective employer before an interview

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Why should you research about a prospective employer?

It will:

  1. help you in the interview
    • help you answer interview questions better.
    • help you make more thoughtful questions.
    • make you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
  2. show that you have initiative and drive.
  3. show that you are enthusiastic about joining the company.
  4. impress your interviewer.

What kind of information should you look for?

  1. Know the company’s:
    • main business. Learn the products and services they offer.
    • target audience/s or the kind of people they serve.
    • vision, mission and values.
    • financial standing. Read the annual reports.
    • community efforts/events.
    • key personnel (especially your prospective boss).

    To do this:

    • Go to their website. Read the “About Us” section.
    • Get a general idea of the values, structure, its strengths and weaknesses.
    • Learn what the corporate culture is like.
    • When you are asked: “Why do you want to work here?” Mention details you learned in your research.
    • Relate it to your own values and preferences.
  2. The Industry
    Know:

    • The company’s competitors
    • Industry standing
    • Industry trends
    • Issues/current problems

    How to use the information:

    • See if there is a good future for you in this field or not.
    • See possible issues for the company.
    • Share your ideas about these issues during the interview.
    • Lead an intelligent discussion. It will impress your interviewer.
  3. Additional research
    Find out more about the position:

    • Connect with an employee within the company to ask about the position. Search on LinkedIn for possible connections.
    • Find out if it is a new post. If someone left the position, ask why.
    • Look at the profiles of your interviewer and prospective boss on LinkedIn. Know their professional history.
    • This is good information to use for small talk.

    Other sources of information:

    • News sites – check the latest corporate and industry news.
    • LinkedIn – read company posts.
    • Social media pages– check the company’s Facebook, Twitter page to know the latest information.
    • Glassdoor, Vault and other review sites –these sites will tell you about other people’s experience with the company.
      • Reviewers are former employees, interviewees, or customers.
      • It is common to see more negative than positive comments.
      • Read with caution.
    • Google – make a general search of corporate and industry news.
    • Better Business Bureau – check this if the company is not well-known. It will tell you if it is good or not.
    • Professional Associations – check for industry updates.
  4. Organize your data
    • Make your information easy to understand. Important points will be easier to remember.
    • Some make a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats analysis.
    • Prepare answers to expected interview questions. Use your research information in your answers.
    • Practice your answers.

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