You’ve probably heard that before you go on an interview, you should research the company – but what exactly should you be looking for, and how can it help you land the job?
Generally speaking, researching a company can tell you what kind of company it is, and what they are looking for in a job candidate. Best of all, it can make you stand out from other candidates who simply do a quick tour of the company website.
Break Down the Job Posting
The job posting that drew your application can provide much more information than what experience and education level you need to have. If it’s a brief post without a lot of specific, that can be a sign the company is laid back and flexible. If the job posting is highly detailed and goes on for many paragraphs, there’s a good chance the company runs a tight ship and has a traditional corporate mentality.
Identify and Research Key Personnel
After getting a vague sense of the type of company you’ll be interviewing with, conduct an internet search for people at the company you’ll most likely have to interact with throughout the interview process. These people include HR personnel and the managers you will most likely be working under. If it’s a small business, get to know ownership as well.
The names of these people can be found in the “About” or “Who We Are” sections of the company website, which often include short bios. Once you know the key players, search for them on LinkedIn and Twitter to get a sense of their personalities, sensibilities and interests.
Look for Recent News About the Company
In addition to a Google News search, you can find out about recent developments at a company by checking to see if they have a page on the company site dedicated to press releases. Recent labor disputes or acquisitions might explain why they are interested in talking to you about an open position.
Reach Out to Current or Former Employees
Thanks to people posting their employment history on LinkedIn, you can very easily contact people who either currently work for the company or have in the past. When reaching out to these people, stay professional and take a courteous, yet curious, tone. Not everyone will feel comfortable responding, but those who do can provide invaluable information.
Many former and current employees also might post reviews of the company on sites like Glassdoor. Keep in mind that Glassdoor can be a bit like Yelp! – driven by people motivated to post about a bad experience. However, if you start to see a pattern of negative comments on the same thing, the issue could be a legitimate gripe. It’s up to you to decide whether or not to broach the issue.
At CAREERXCHANGE, we specialize in prepping job candidates for their interviews. Simply stop down and we can help you with your research and even conduct a mock interview to get you ready.