4 Topics to Research Before your Job Interview
Posted On: Thursday, June 16, 2016
In every Interview an employer is trying to determine “why should I hire you?” A good interviewee will talk about their wide and varied skill-set, achievements and desire for the job. A great Interviewee will take a similar approach, but will also explain how their past job experience makes them the best candidate for the job. The interviewee that lands the job will not only talk about their past experience but also explain what they will do to add value in the future.
A star candidate will have done their research and have enough understanding of the company’s product or service to present ideas regarding how they could improve the company’s performance. The ability to explain the present and future value that you can bring, will separate you from the other dozens of candidates being interviewed with the same qualifications. The only thing more crucial than doing research is researching the right information. Below is a list of the 4 most important topics to research before you go on your interview.
In order to be able to explain your value to a company it is important to know exactly what the company does and have an understanding of what their product or service is. Before your interview, take a look at the company’s website and really learn their offering and value proposition. While learning about their product or service, think deeply about ways your skill set would be able to positively impact the company.
This type of research is going to prepare you for many of the questions you will be asked. Studying the website before the interview will help you develop talking points which can keep you focused in your interview. Lastly researching the website will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed. That in turn will put the employer at ease because you will seem confident and calm.
- Company Values/Culture
It`s important to have an idea of the company’s culture before you walk into an interview. To acquire a clear understanding of the company’s culture there are multiple approaches that you can take. First, look at the company’s mission statement and values on their website. This will give you a broad understanding of the company’s goals as a whole. Take it a step further by checking out the company’s different social media sites. That will give you a better understanding of the people’s personalities that work there. The last step is looking at Linkedin profiles or other social media accounts of people who are currently working at the company. You do not need to go through all of these channels to learn about the company, these are just a few suggestion to consider.
While researching the companies website, pay attention to see if there is a repetition in phrasing and words. This can expose cultural values. These also can serve as keywords that you can reiterate during your interview. It can be a great strategy to show that you fit in with the company’s culture. For example TJX`s website emphasizes their employees “passion for retail.” This term is used throughout their site. This is an example of a keyword phrase that you might want to use if you were interviewing there.
- Utilize Glassdoor
Glassdoor is a great resource for getting the inside scoop on a company’s interview process. However, like other review based websites like Yelp or Angie’s List, one must be wary. People who review these companies usually have experiences that were on one extreme of the spectrum or the other; highly positive or highly negative. So when reading those raving reviews or cross criticisms, ignore the biases and look for cold hard facts. See if the reviewer mentions anything about the structure of the interview, like whether it was one-on-one or a panel. Whether it was behavioral or test-based. See if they mention any possible interview questions, how many people they spoke too, how long the interview lasted, and how many rounds of interviewing there were. The more prepared you are, the less likely that you will encounter any surprises during the interview. Yet no matter how much information you gather from this beneficial site, I would refrain from ever mentioning to the employer that you visited the site before the interview.
- Do Research on Yourself
After doing extensive research, you will know the ins and outs of the company. But that being said, do not lose sight of the main focus of the interview, …. you. Re-familiarize yourself with well… yourself! Before you enter your interview, review your resume. After years of experience you may be surprised what is on there. Be familiar with every bullet point. Do not get stumped by something on your resume! It may be perceived that you are lying about your experience. Survey your brain and self reflect. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself ( short term goals, long term goals, strengths, weaknesses, etc). Be sure of who you are and be true to yourself. If you do that, then everything else will fall into place. Though even when talking about yourself, do not forget your research about the company. See if you can tailor the answers about yourself to your company research so you can frame yourself as “the perfect fit.”
This preparation allows you to present your best self to the employer and you to leave the interview without any regrets. Put in a couple more hours researching than your competition and this could be the factor that gets you hired. Remember to follow these 4 steps to “interview success” and good luck on your next interview!
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Amanda is receiving her BA in public relations, from the S.I. Newhouse School of public communications at Syracuse University. She started as a business development specialist in 2014 and transitioned as a content writer in 2016. Feel free to reach out to her by email and LinkedIn.
Sam is receiving her BBA in Marketing, from the Isenberg School of Business at UMass Amherst. She started as an agency recruiter for Mindcircuit in 2014 and transitioned to a content writer for the business in 2016. Feel free to reach out to her by email, or connect with her on LinkedIn.