Research a company before an interview

Research a company before an interview

Researching a company before your job interview isn’t about standing out anymore. Today it’s about keeping up and staying on the short-list. In our information and social media age, where information is so readily available, there’s really no excuse for not doing your homework.

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Tell-tale signs of a failure to research a company 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.

How to research a company before an interview?

So how can you look up company information and what should you pay attention to? Here’s our advice:

Where to look?

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.

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, recent projects and accolades.

Glassdoor (insights about jobs and companies)
Websites such as Glassdoor can provide further information about an organisation that can’t be discovered on their website or social media pages.

What to look for?

Insight into the culture
From this research you’ll gain a robust insight into the organisation’s culture. For example, its website may emphasise its meritocracy, in which case you could share examples of how you were promoted for consistently exceeding your objectives. If it emphasises teamwork, you should share examples that show you work well in a team.

Critiquing the organization
won’t go down well
in an interview

Understand the products or services and objectives
You should come to understand the organisation’s products or services and its objectives. Find out which organisations are its main competitors and see if you can gain an understanding of what challenges the organisation is currently facing.

Look for connections and interesting points
You’ll be able to see if you are connected to anyone who has worked at the organisation, in which case you can talk to them for more insights about the company.
And you’ll also be able to note interesting points you can ask about in the interview.

A word of warning

But while you want to use your research to inform your answers don’t 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, or encroach on their privacy too much. 

Critiquing the organisation won’t go down well in an interview! Instead, use the information you uncovered to prepare appropriate examples of your work, previous performance and way you work that show your interviewer you are the very best fit for the organisation and role.

Have a look at the most common interview questions, or, when you are invited for a follow up meeting, here’re some tips for your second job interview

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