How To Research A Company Before An Interview
A Recruiters Guide 2021
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
HOW TO RESEARCH A COMPANY BEFORE AN INTERVIEW 2021
A Recruiters Guide
You may have already read the advice that it’s important to have some questions prepared to ask a hiring manager when you’re interviewing for a job in one of our previous articles, such as Top 8 Interview Questions. It’s true that interviewers will expect you to be curious and interested in their organisation, and they'll expect to show that by asking questions, but it’s also true that you should come to the interview with a good level of basic knowledge about the company.
During the interview, employers naturally take more notice of people who have done their research and have really tried to get a good level of background knowledge about the company they’re interviewing for a position with. Putting in the extra preparation will not only impress the interviewer but also help your performance during the interview as you will be equipped to answer questions more confidently.
So where should your research begin and how can it be done most effectively?
The good news is that it has become easier than ever before to research an employer before a job interview. Here are our tips on how to research a company before an interview in 2021 and beyond:
It All Starts On Google
Just about every business regardless of operation and size is on Google these days, so start out by first finding out what comes up when you Google the name of company; read any interest web pages that catch your eye, scroll through any images results related to the company, are there any indications of who their customers are, employee LinkedIn profiles you can view, and if they’ve got a Google My Business (GMB) account set up, check out their current Google rating.
Visit the Company Website
Next click on their company website and thoroughly read sections such as About Us, News, Our Team, Blog and anything else that will give you an insight into what the company stands for and does within their sector. The information you will usually find will include things like what they do, why they’re good at it, company history, products and/or services, who the management are, and in the majority of times what their values and goals are, as well as their vision for the future.
You might even be lucky enough to find a ‘A day in the life of’ blog article which will give you a descriptive first-hand account of what it’s like to work within the company.
Browse Social Media
After you’ve found out some core facts about the company, its good practice to then check the company's social media accounts for further background information. Most companies use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to post information that might not be immediately available on their website.
Look at the types of content they post such as work events, days in the office, company news, you’ll usually be able to get a sense of what the feel for the company is whether that’s formal, casual, fun, or even quirky.
Although personal social media accounts are generally a place where people post their best photos, particularly with Instagram, companies usually show a more authentic side on their business profiles, which is why it’s a great way to find out what it would be like to work there.
There are, of course, times when this may also uncover some red flags with what you are looking for from an organisation, you’re looking to work for. But that’s actually a positive thing before you get any further into the employment process.
Check Out LinkedIn
LinkedIn company profiles are a good way to find, at a glance, more information on a company you're researching. You'll be able to see if you’ve already got some connections at or with the company, product promotions they may be currently running, related companies, and company statistics. If you have connections at the company, consider reaching out to them. Of course, not only can they put in a good word for you, but they’ll also be able to to give you an “insider’s” insight into the company and possibly provide you with some tips that will help you smash your job interview.
Don’t just stop at the company LinkedIn profile, unless your interviewer has already connect with you on LinkedIn as part of their recruitment processes, take a look at their LinkedIn profile to see if you have any common links between you. Do you know the same people? Did you go to the same school? These kinds of common links could help you establish rapport with them during the interview.
Expand Your Research To News And Recent Events
A company’s website, blog, and social media are great ways to learn about a company, but you’ll also want to get an external perspective. Search for general news coverage and specific industry publications for recent updates about the company and their competitors. An easy way to begin this is to search both Google and Google News for the company name. You may find out for example, that the company has recently expanding its operations with the opening of a further branch overseas in Europe or have been successful in acquiring finances as part of a crowd-funding initiative they created.
Get To Know Their Competitors
Aside from knowing as much as possible about the place you’re interviewing with, it’s a good idea to be able to talk about the industry as a whole, knowing particular current trends for example. You could even take it one step further and impress your interviewer by being able to discuss their competitors and how the company fits into the bigger picture by identifying strengths and weaknesses.
How To Use This Research During Interviews
Firstly we can’t stress enough that it’s important to note that this research does take time. If it’s not possible for you to set aside several hours at one time, break it up into dedicated 30 min bite size blocks. Dedicating each block to researching a different part of the company for example.
The burning question I’m sure you’ve all got though is “after all this research, what do I do with all this information?”
Fundamentally, you need to use the information you’ve discovered strategically by matching your skills and experience to the job description, the company goals, and the overall vision for the company throughout the interview.
Interviewers want to determine if a candidate will be a good fit for the position and company.
Your research on their company will make your responses to the questions they ask you interesting and show that you'll be helpful to their business strategy, and ultimately its bottom line. By working in examples of what you know in your interview answers, you’ll probably see your interviewers nod in approval.
Just think carefully if your research has uncovered any sensitive before you bring it up in conversation. Creating an awkward situation with the interviewer by attempting to show off your researching talents could of course backfire in a situation like this.