How to Research a Company Before an Interview
The exact topics to research on a company BEFORE your job interview
Researching a company is a great way to prepare for your job interview. It is important to come to the interview with a good baseline of knowledge about the company and insight into their world. Many people get nervous about job interviews and this is normal, but preparedness can help calm the nerves. When going into an interview remember that you are evaluating the company just as much as they are evaluating you. Having done research on the company prior to your interview ensures you are ready to answer any questions they have about your knowledge of the company, but it also equips you with great questions to ask them at the end, and it shows your deep interest in the company beyond just applying for the job.
A common question that gets asked in many job interviews is: “What do you know about the company?” Coming armed with the answer to this question beforehand will ensure you nail the interview.
On that note, let's dive into it...
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN RESEARCHING A COMPANY:
1. Company’s Vision, Mission, Goals, and Objectives
This forms the basis of the company: who they are, what they do, and why. Just memorizing it word for word doesn’t mean that you understand its context. Comprehension is a must! It is good to have a thorough understanding of what forms the basis of the company and learn to express or elaborate these points in your own words. Here are some examples from some known companies:
- Amazon's Corporate Vision is to be Earth's most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online.
- The World Bank's Core Values are impact, integrity, respect, teamwork, and innovation.
Seek to understand the basis of the company and why they do what they do.
2. Corporate Culture or Workplace Culture.
This is about how employees interact and the overall environment of the company. Ask yourself these questions when researching:
- What is the overall environment like at work? Is it a more strict, hard ruled kind of work environment, or is it lax?
- Is it a high-stress environment or more laid back?
- How do employees communicate and interact with one another?
Think about the difference between a Wall Street brokerage versus Google. These companies have two different workplace and corporate cultures, both very unique.
3. Big Projects, Significant Impact or Philanthropy
What has the company been involved in recently? Have any new products, big projects or philanthropies been launched, or have they made a significant impact in their industry? This is good information to know as you are going beyond the basic knowledge of the company. An example could be that their CEO has been on the news speaking about a big product launch, or maybe they’re a small business and they recently hosted a fundraiser at their local store.
4. The People
You want to know who are the people that work at the company— who is the founder, the CEO, the hiring manager, and the department head of the position you are applying for? It is important to know the faces and names behind the brand.
Who are the employees that work or worked there? You can get key insights from both past and current employees on what the workplace culture is like. If you know someone who has previously worked or is working for that company, use these connections to your benefit. They could be key to landing that job.
5. The Industry
What industry does the company operate in? Have there been any significant shifts, either good or bad, in that industry? How has it affected the company? Knowledge of the industry is essential as it shows you are staying up to date with external factors that could be affecting the company's bottom line. It is also good to keep up to tabs with the industry you could potentially be working in, beyond just your day to day responsibilities.
Next, let's dive into
WHAT RESOURCES TO USE TO CONDUCT YOUR RESEARCH:
- Company’s Website - This is the prime place for you to find information about their vision, mission, goals, and values.
- Glassdoor or PayScale - These are great websites where you can find key information about salaries, about the work environment and even what their past and current employees are saying about working there.
- Google News Tab - This is a great tool where you could simply search the company name and see if the company has been in the news lately, and also a good way to research what is going on in the industry.
- LinkedIn - Of course! Have a look at the company page and what they post. You can also see who their past and current employees are. People love to speak about their jobs and what they do so don’t be afraid to reach out and send a message asking their past or current employees about the workplace culture or any other information you're interested in knowing.
- Social Media - This is key as you get great insights into the life of the company. Follow the company on all social media platforms, and engage with their posts by liking, commenting, and sharing (you could even give your feedback or add value to an article or discussion). Not only will you find out useful information on exactly what the company is up to, but by engaging with the content you are showing that you are staying up to date with everything that’s going on in their world!
So remember, if you have not already done your research on a company when you first applied for the job, now is a good time to go deep and find out all you can before your job interview. I hope you can use these tips and resources to nail your next interview!