A Pre-Interview Essential: Research the Company You’re Trying to Join
You’ve landed an interview and are looking forward to working in a new place. The company seems just like what you've been seeking, but is it really? How much do you know about it? What truly matters to you in a job? Do you want flexible hours, an employer that gives back to the community, or an organization that offers opportunities for moving up the ladder? What’s the company culture, and does it jive with your personality and work style?
Even if you hate your current job and are itching to get out or you’ve been unemployed for a while and are desperate for work, don’t let your circumstances cloud your judgment and push you into a decision you may regret. Think about what's important to you. Don’t ignore potentially important factors just because the pay is great—if you hate everything else about the job, all that money will be worth far less.
Dig a little deeper into your potential new employer, and remember that an interview works both ways—it's a chance for you and the interviewer to find out if you're a good fit for each other.
Researching the company will also help you prepare better for the interview. You’ll come across as an ambitious go-getter who is ready to make an extra effort. You’ll be able to ask questions that show you’re well-prepared and that may give you an advantage over candidates who haven’t bothered to learn more than the bare minimum.
Below are some important things to research as you prepare for your interview. If you’re still sending out applications, reach out to our resume experts to ensure you get the attention of recruiters with a top-notch resume.
Company business and culture
For starters, you should know what the company does and what products or services it offers. The corporate website should provide you with all the information you need, including a mission statement that will give you an idea of what this organization values. A job is more than just a paycheck, so if the mission statement doesn’t resonate with you, this may not be the company for you.
The workplace culture is another important factor to consider. What kind of environment do you prefer? Do you want an employer that’s more relaxed or one that's all business? You'll probably get a feel for the culture during the interview, but it's also an important question to ask so that you're clear on what to expect. You need to make sure you'll be comfortable in this setting, otherwise, you’ll hate working there, and you may stick out like a sore thumb in an otherwise harmonious environment.
News articles can reveal a lot about a company, both good and bad. Google your potential employer to see what comes up in the news. If there’s bad press, take it seriously and consider whether it’s relevant to your decision to interview at the company.
You should also peruse its social media platforms to see what it’s sharing. Whether it's on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, you'll get a good feel for what the company’s all about. Also, be on the lookout for reviews from previous workers—you can glean valuable information from these posts.
Find out about the company's financial state, its competitors, and its key decision-makers. If this information isn't available on the official website, try searching the Better Business Bureau or Glassdoor. Be sure to look for red flags, such as recent layoffs, high turnover, lawsuits, or bankruptcies. There’s no point in getting a job at the company if it’s likely to lay you off within months, and high turnover suggests there’s something terribly wrong with the work environment.
Once you find out who's conducting the interview, see what you can learn about them. Check the corporate website for information on how long they've worked for the company and the various positions they’ve held. If you find nothing there, browse LinkedIn or their social media profiles to learn a bit about them. That will make you more comfortable during the interview and could help if you have something in common (for example, the same alma mater).
If you try to connect with more personal details, make sure you clarify that you obtained the information from the recruiter’s public social media profiles during your research into the position—you don’t want to make them uncomfortable.
Doing a little research before an interview can go a long way. Not only can it help you stand out by being well-prepared, but it can also guide your decision on whether the company is a good fit for you. If you’re still sending out resumes just in case this interview doesn’t work out, contact our resume specialists to make sure your applications are impressive!