You've been sending your resume and cover letter out to several companies, and you finally got an interview for a position that you love.
Before your interview, it's a good idea to know a little about the company, specifically the company's mission, culture, and values.
Understanding how the company operates allows you to discern if you feel you'd be a good fit for it. By researching companies, you can better prepare for the interview questions, tailoring your answers to the specific company and hiring manager.
Before you head out and do some research on the company that you're interviewing for, speak with a career counselor from Enhancv. They can help you to refine your research and create valuable talking points to ace your interview.
7 Steps to research a company for an interview
If you are anything like me, you want to come prepared for your interview, knowing exactly what you need to know to make the best first impression. Alternatively, if you show up to a job interview without properly researching the company that you're applying for, you may feel ill prepared, stumbling over the main ideas that you'd like to convey.
If you want to be prepared for your next interview, follow these six steps to research the hiring company:
Step 1: Ask your network
When you settle down in a career for a long period of time, you build up a network of contacts. Whether through vendors, clients, colleagues, or managers of other companies, reaching out to those people that you know may be your first step in understanding the reputation of the company that you're interviewing for.
Instead of just looking at the ways that the company represents itself online through marketing materials, social media posts, or philanthropic pursuits, asking someone you know who has an understanding of the company can give you key insights.
This type of research may be more intimate, allowing you to gain more of an understanding of how it feels to be someone who works at the company or interacts with management there. This type of research allows you to identify any red flags, things that may make you choose not to continue during the interview process with the hiring company.
It's important to keep in mind that you should take some of this word-of-mouth research with a grain of salt. For example, if you are speaking to former employees of the company, they may have more overtly negative things to say about it since they've stopped working there.
If you're just starting out in the industry, and you're fresh off an internship, you may be able to contact your university's career office, and ask if there are some alumni who attended the same school working at the company.
Who knows? Maybe you can get a job referral or reference from your network.
Step 2: Check out the company's blog on their website
If you're interested in learning more about how the company operates, you should check out their website. Here you can gain a better understanding of the products and services they offer their customers, whilst also learning about the things that matter to them the most.
The best place to look for information on a company's website is their blog, as you can usually find great content that breaks down everything the company is doing. A company's blog is where an organization can share about what differentiates them from other organizations.
Most companies now are trying to become thought leaders in their industry, and on their website you can see a little more about the company's vision and values.
Even a company's annual report, which may be found on their website, can help to show you the financial health of the company, and even how they handle investor relations.
Another helpful place to look is on the "about us" page, which lists all the important people at the company. Here you can find employee bios. By looking at this page, you may be even able to find the name and position of the hiring manager that will be interviewing you for the position. This allows you to have all the information you need to choose your employer.
Step 3: Comb through the company's social media accounts.
Another great place to find information on the company online is to search through their social media accounts. There are two types of social media accounts that you can look for: the official company's social media account, and individual executive's social media accounts. The company social media account is the place where they put all the content that they would like to share with their target audience. You can actually see what they value the most at their company by what they post on their social media posts. Also, you can gain a lot of company information from the key players within an organization. Some large companies have executives with their own social media profiles, and you may be able to gain the inside scoop on the company values straight from their leaders.
Step 4: Job description
This may be one of the places that you may have forgotten about, but jobseekers can gain a lot of information from the job description. Not only do you gain information about the hiring process, most job applications provide you with a short introduction to the company, specifically their culture, vision, and values.
In the job description, you are also given information about the tasks and duties of the role. Scour the job description to learn about what roles you'll fill, and what duties and responsibilities you'll be expected to complete.
Some job descriptions also offer information on employee benefits, like medical, pension plans, and even stock options.
Step 5: Read reviews
Reading employee reviews can be viewed as a secret weapon when researching for an interview. Even a quick search of the business on an employee review website, can give you quite a bit of information about what it's like to practically work there.
As you scour the reviews, look for common themes which seem to show up from all employees. If several former employees share that the bosses have a tendency to overwork their employees, then this may be a sign that the company doesn't offer a great work/life balance.
Step 6: Examine media sources and press releases
Another type of research is to do a Google News search to see how media sources are portraying the company. Just do a quick search of the company name, and you may be able to gain information like how the company is expanding operations into Europe and Asia.
You may also be able to gain information on philanthropic pursuits that the company has done within their community.
Step 7: Examine your own values and career trajectory
The last thing that you're going to want to do is to understand your own values and career trajectory. This may be the hardest type of research that you'll have to do, as you'll have to look deep inside yourself to see exactly what you want to get out of your next job.
Some informational interview questions might actually tap into your own values and career trajectory. For example, you may be asked in an interview, "What do you like the most about your work?" Coming prepared with an understanding of what motivates you can help you answer this question.
- Check out the company's online presence through their social media accounts, website, and blog.
- Use your network of friends, family members, former employees, and those you went to university with to help you to gain an understanding of the company.
- Check out former employees' reviews of the company on review websites.
- Examine yourself, before interviewing for a position, to see exactly what you want to get out of the role.
While we're on the subject of examining your own vision for your career trajectory, you should speak to a career counselor from Enhancv. Within the first meeting, you can begin to share a bit of the information about you, and gain insights into where you would like your career to go.