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What to research about a company before a job interview

What to research about companies before a job interview

You've uploaded your resume, applied for the job, and landed the job interview. Congratulations! However, you have one more task to complete before you sit down for the interview: learn more about your potential employer. Preparing for a job interview involves more than just practicing typical interview questions; it requires you to learn a little about the company and the role you're interviewing for. Do your homework, and use these tips so you know what to research before a job interview so you can be well prepared.

Find out more about the company

It may seem obvious that you should know what the company you're interviewing with does, but you might be surprised to know that some interviewees don't know much about the company they're trying to land a job at. Having a basic understanding of the company's accomplishments, challenges, and expectations can go a long way in showing the interviewer how serious you are about joining the team. Hiring managers might ask you what you know about the company, and failing to have a quality answer might tell them that you're not serious about the job.

"Hiring managers might ask you what you know about the company, and failing to have a quality answer might tell them that you're not serious about the job."

Learning more about the company can be as simple as locating its website and clicking over to the company's about us page. You could also do an online search to see if the company's been in the news lately, whether it's for good or bad reasons. Some areas you might want to find out more about include:

  • The company's past business partners
  • Any recent acquisitions
  • Some changes to its growth
  • Alterations to procedures or policies due to new management

Know the company's clients, services, and products

As a prospective employee, you should have a solid idea as to what type of work you'll be doing once you're hired. Having a rough understanding of what the company does and the types of clients it works with can help you be more prepared for the interview. To find out who the company works with as well as what types of services and products it offers, look through the company's website. You can also search through the company's blog and case studies.

Become familiar with the company's leadership team

In addition to learning more about what the company offers, you should research those who have important leadership roles within the company. This includes upper management and executives. Read up on their bios on the company's website or look through professional social media sites to gain additional insight into their roles and responsibilities. Plus, depending on what type of position you're interviewing for, you might end up meeting at some point with one of the upper-management professionals.

Review the job description

During the interview, you'll learn more about the intricacies of the job, but you should already have a solid understanding of what's expected. That way, when the interviewer discusses the position, you can provide details about how you can contribute and be an asset to the company. You can also highlight areas mentioned in the job description and provide the interviewer with examples of how you will apply them to the job.

Determine what others think of the company

Don't rely solely on the company's website for information. Look at other websites for employer ratings and feedback from current and past employees. Do a Boolean search to look for external articles written about the employer. You could also try to locate past or current employees and ask them how they feel about the company. Get them to open up and provide you with positive and/or negative aspects of the working environment. Obtaining a first-hand account of what you might expect while working there can be an invaluable resource.

Learn about the interviewer

If you're given the name of the person interviewing you, try to find out a little more about them so you can connect on a more personal level. In many situations, the name of the interviewer is included in the email with details of your interview, but if it isn't, you can always send a follow-up email asking for the interviewer's name.

Once you obtain the person's name, you can learn more about their role at the company, background, and interests by looking at the company's website. You might also be able to locate them on professional social media sites. Do a little internet sleuthing to find any shared interests, such as educational background or hobbies.

An interview isn't the time to learn everything you need to know about an employer. Spend some time researching more about the company before your interview, and learn what to expect from its culture, products, and services. Doing so can help you be better prepared when the interviewer asks you questions geared toward a particular job.

Read more tips about interviewing:

Reduce the chance of being nervous for your next interview by using these 10 tips.

To help you prepare for the interview, know how to answer five of the most common questions.

Want to make a lasting impression? Learn the top five questions to ask at the end of your interview.

After the interview is over, pay attention to these signs to help you determine if it went well.