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What Do You Need to Know About a Company Before Your Job Interview
February 22nd, 2010 by Tatiana Varenik  Posted in Career Advice, Interviewing, Job Search, Most Popular
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Do you wear happy socks to work?If you already have your job interview day you should take it very seriously and start your preparation immediately. We recommend you to read Interview Preparation: Five Easy Steps to Get Ready for the Interview.

Before going for an interview, find out as much information about the company as you can. It may seem obvious but there are a lot of people failing to answer the “What do you know about our company?” question. The best way to show enthusiasm for the job is to research the company and position you are interviewing for. Human Resource managers say they are impressed when the interviewee is well-informed.

Consider researching the following information about the company:
  • What the company does and what product or service provides.
  • How big it is.
  • Company history.
  • Company values and goals.
  • Financials information.
  • Mission statement.
  • Promotional opportunities.
  • Benefits information.
  • Interesting facts from news and forums.
  • Information about competitors.
Most of this information can be found on your prospective employer’s corporate Web site. Check out the annual report, but also look for a “press room” or “company news” page that links to recent news releases. Use the company site’s search facility to query the names of the hiring managers. Take a little time to search a few major newspaper sites (such as the New York Times) to see how the company is faring in the media. Jot down some stand-out points about the company from both sources (corporate website and the news).

Don’t forget employee message boards, such as Vault.com. Large companies may also have separate websites dedicated to a single company (e.g. ibmemployee.com). Those boards help job applicants to learn the “insider” knowledge about companies and industries. You can often find invaluable information about the work environment and learn what current employees think about the company. It may also give you some tips that’ll really impress your interviewer, such as changes in management or recent business deals.

If you do a good research it will be much easier for you to explain why you’re a good match for the company, what you can contribute to the company’s goals and where you see yourself going with the company in the future.

Also read:  The Best Questions to Ask In the Job Interview and What Message They Give to the Interviewer
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  • Jeffrey A. Cattani

    Tatiana,

    All great points to consider and know for an interview. Just learning all you can sets a good tone for your drive in a job search.

  • Tatiana - all good points, and I agree with John as well.

    I would also suggest asking the interviewer contact (e.g., HR) the itinerary of your interview - who you are meeting with and their job titles. Go to LinkedIn (and other such sites) and look for these individuals. You'll find out more information about what they have done in the past, what they are proud of, and also unrelated things you may have in common - good conversation starters. Search for their name on the Internet as well.

    Another idea is to contact old employees - you can find these on LinedIn as well. Call them, explain you are interviewing, and ask if they are willing to talk about why they left. Ask about company culture, good and bad aspects of working there, etc. I have done this and learned enough to get additional interviews by being proactive and providing examples of my experience that I knew would be relevant (even though they likely won't tell you what their problems are).

    Lisa

  • Hi Tatiana,

    Great suggestions. However, I think you left out one point: "Who some of its customers are and what they think about the company." I recently went through an interview where the interviewer asked me to name some the company's customers -- in part to see how thoroughly I had reviewed the website. But he also explained that this was one way he gauged a company before he ever took a job. He'd call some of the XYZ's customers directly, ask to speak to an IT manager, and then ask the IT manager point blank what they thought of XYZ's products. He wouldn't take a job if the company's customers don't believe in and support it.

    John

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