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What to research about a company before a job interview
CareerBuilder | September 6, 2022
If you're not sure what to research about a company for an interview, this guide has you covered. Here are the topics that matter the most and how to study up.
When you're searching for a new job, practicing answers to common interview questions is a good idea. That said, it will also help you to research the company. Employers like applicants who are familiar with their business and identify with their core values. With so much information out there, it can be tough to figure out what's relevant. Take a look at some of the best points to research before you walk into your next job interview.
Who is conducting the interview?
It's likely the interviewer will look up your name and social media accounts online, so why not find out who is conducting the interview? A little background research on the person's name might reveal some shared beliefs or accomplishments. It may also give a hint as to the person's interests as a hiring manager and what sort of questions they'll ask in an interview. If you were told that anyone else might be interviewing you as well, be sure to look up any names given.
What are the company's values?
A manager will be more interested in hiring you if you show an authentic interest in their industry or job. You can look up a company's website and general social media to get a pretty quick idea of what they do, how they do it, and why it matters to them. When you express these principles in your interview answers, it will show you are much more than just someone looking for a job.
Values are often deeply personal and can't be taught, so they point to the core of who you are and what you have to offer. Employers who meet you and see that your values match the company will be more likely to choose you. What's more, researching companies in this way can help you find the real best place to work for you, at companies whose style of business and objectives most appeal to you.
What skills do they value most?
When you upload a resume to a job-hunting portal and look at job descriptions, much of the information you need for this question will be written there. If you know any current employees working at the same company, they can help guide you. For instance, in an office going through a remote work shift, the managers might value new employees who are tech-savvy and flexible with work hours.
What clients or customers do they serve?
Every company has a unique client base. Showing you understand the needs and desires of those people will go a long way. Expressing customer knowledge is an effective, creative way to get noticed by an employer. Case studies and white papers released by the business can help showcase customer service situations they are proud of, and company websites often have a testimonial page full of stories about why customers prefer them.
What new developments are going on?
If the industry, or the specific company, is going through a shift, there might be some media online that can get you up to speed. This information can be great going into an interview. For example, a company launching a new line of products might appreciate someone who knows about it and has insights related to how well those have performed.
Who are the main competitors?
Tools like Amazon Alexa, Ahrefs, and similarweb offer data on the biggest competitors to a business online. Once you've identified the key competitors, you can compare their websites and other branding. When you get asked why you want to work with a certain company over competitors, being able to give examples that demonstrate research will create a very good impression.
Who are the company leaders?
During a search through news outlets like Google news, you might find interviews with key leaders in the company, giving you their own words about what the company wants most. If you know who some of the key figures are at the company's top level, the hiring manager might not just pick you for the job, but also set up an introduction down the line.
Between the job posting and company website, social media, company review sites, and news sites relevant to the industry, you'll be able to find answers to all of the questions above. Knowing how to prepare for an interview is as much of a skill as staying cool during one, so use the power of social media and the internet to apply to awesome companies that share your biggest values.
More about nailing a job interview and getting hired:
Learn the best questions to ask in a job interview.
Here's a reminder to think beyond the typical interview questions.
Browse this infographic on how to get to the next round of interviews.
Can't be found online? See how not having social media can hurt your job hunt.
See whether post-interview thank-you notes are still a good idea.