Really nailing a job interview is about more than knowing the right answer to “Where do you see yourself in five years?”
If you want to make a strong first impression, you should be ready to show your interviewer that you’re already familiar with the company and position.
And, it’s not just knowing what you can see on the homepage of their website, either. Here are 8 things we think you must know about a company before you step into your first interview.
Mission and Values
The mission of a company is the driving force behind everything they do. Most of the time it’s easy to discern, but knowing exactly how the organization words it is important in case the question comes up in an interview. Search the company’s website to find the mission statement, and also take note of any values listed.
Depending on its size, the company you’re interviewing for may have a lot of top-level leaders. But the most important ones to know before your interview are the top C-level leaders (think CEO, CFO and COO), as well as the key leaders of the branch you’re applying to. This information can usually be found within the company’s website.
Their Competitive Advantage
Successful organizations have something that sets them apart in their market and serves as their competitive advantage. It’s important to be familiar of what that is before you step into your interview because that’s what determines how the company makes their most important decisions. When researching what makes the company you’re applying to unique, consider questions like whether they are a business-to-business or business-to-consumer organization, whether they specialize in a niche market and what kind of differentiation strategy they might use.
The Company Culture
Apart from determining your experience level, hiring managers also use interviews as a way to decide if you’re a good fit for the company’s culture. While not as easy to research as the company’s history or mission statement, company culture can usually be understood by speaking with a past employee or looking at the organization’s social media sites and blogs. Pay particular attention to any company events that are mentioned, especially those that are organized for employees.
Knowing the recent news about the organization you’re applying to will not only make you a more informed applicant — it’ll also help you understand what kind of environment you’re walking into. Search the organization’s name under Google News to find out about recent acquisitions, mergers or any other current events and be ready to address them if they come up during the interview. You can also mention recent news when answering questions. Just stay away from topics that could be considered controversial.
The history of an organization speaks to the company’s roots and mission. If you want to work there now, it’s important to understand how the organization came to be. While you can usually find this information through a Google search, the best place to study it is straight from the company’s website because it represents the people and events the organization considers the most significant.
The Role You Want
While you may not know everything about the position you’re applying for, being aware of the responsibilities listed on the application is a must during your interview. Knowing what’s expected of an applicant for your position will help you tailor all of your answers to make sure you meet the qualifications. If you’re unsure about any of the specifics, don’t be afraid to ask the hiring manager about them during the interview.
Something Not Found on the Website
Interviewers will sometimes ask you to mention something about the company that can’t be found on their website. If you’ve done your research well, this should be an easy answer. But to make sure you’re fully prepared in case the question comes up, choose a specific answer beforehand that’ll demonstrate your detailed research about the organization.
By Priscilla Aceves