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Why Should You Research a Company before the Job Interview?

October 12, 2015

Researching a company before your job interview isn’t about standing out anymore. It’s about making to the shortlist and keeping up. Not so long ago, job seekers who wanted to create an impression during job interview were advised to research about the company and the interviewer.

Researches can be used to determine the examples of work you should share when answering questions or any sentence stating, you noticed something on their website is sure shot way to impress the interviewer.

In an information-driven and social media age, wherein candidates can access all information that is readily available, there’s really no excuse for not doing your homework. Not researching about your prospective future employer and the company will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Job seekers need to be warned to not think they can bluff their way through an interview. Interviewers can easily identify you’ve failed to do your research as it’s quite evident in your answers. Since the answers are not personalised nor are the work examples you cite, you will sound quite irrelevant to justify the job role challenges and the organisation.

Other tell-tale signs of a failure to research include asking a question you would already know the answer to if you’d looked into the organisation and team, not demonstrating how your skills could add value to the organisation, and not understanding the vacancy’s role in helping the organisation achieve its objectives.

What you should look for in your research before an interview with a company? Here are some research tips:

  • Social media: At the very least you should search for the organisation and your interviewer on LinkedIn. Like the organisation on Facebook and follow them on Twitter so you are up-to-date with their latest news.
  • Google: Search for the organisation and your interviewer online. Just like your social media research, you are looking for information about the organisation. This could include recent executive-level appointments, expansions or new products or services.
  • The organisation’s website: An organisation’s website will give you more detailed news and – crucially – insight into its culture.
  • Glassdoor: Websites such as Glassdoor can provide further information about an organisation that can’t be discovered on their website or social media pages.

See: Easy Answers for the 6 Most Common Interview Questions

Only through research can you gain insight into an organisation’s culture. For example, the company’s website may emphasise on meritocracy, in which case you might like to share examples of your work with the interviewer or how you were promoted for consistently exceeding your objectives.

If the company’s website emphasises on team spirit, then maybe you can cite examples of how your role as an effective team player help achieve certain project goals.

You should understand the organisation’s products or services and its objectives. Find out competitors of the company you choose to apply, and seek to understand the current challenges your potential employer might be facing at this point in time in a competitive market. Also you can come up with interesting points through the research to question your interviewer and seek more insights.

Cautionary note

While it is in your best interest to stay informed about the company and seek answers, do not overdo it.  “It’s perfectly acceptable to tell an interviewer you read about their recent product launch and thought it was done very well, but don’t start telling them what they could have done better,” says Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia. “Critiquing the organisation won’t go down well in an interview!”

Instead use the facts uncovered to prepare yourself with appropriate examples of your work and previous performances. This will help to showcase to your interviewer that you’re the ideal best fit for the job role.

Also read: Top 5 Reasons Why You Weren’t Hired

Image credit: freestockphotos.biz

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