What should you know about a company before your interview?
Before attending your interview, you need to have spent time really understanding the company and how they operate. You need to demonstrate your passion and knowledge of the company to show your enthusiasm for the career field and the business itself. Here is what you should know-
Services and Products they offer
How does the company operate and what products/services do they offer? As you have sent an application to the company, it is likely you know what their services are, but you need to delve a little deeper to understand exactly how they work.
The company website will be the perfect way to find out this information. Their ‘About Us’ page will clarify their services, how they work, how they deliver their services and their strengths.
It will also be handy to read their mission statement and understand their values to determine the company’s direction and overall strategy and how you can work with them to align with these company values.
Who their client and customers are
You might find that many companies want to keep their clientele secret and not publicise it to their competition, or they may be more than happy to share who their clients or partners are. So take a look at the company website and see if you can inquire further to who they work with. If this is not publicly available, ask them at your interview and demonstrate your interest to find out exactly who they work with.
The company might be offering the same products or services as hundreds of other companies or they may be new to the market and offering a new service, but either way it is important to find out who else out there could be classed as direct competition. Find out what they might be doing differently and impress them with your knowledge of the industry, the company and its competitors.
LinkedIn is a great tool to find out who the competition are! If you research the company page on LinkedIn, there will be a section with ‘Similar Companies’ so this is a perfect way of establishing who the competition are. As an example, on the right is the list of competitors for Virgin Australia on LinkedIn.
Articulate what you find appealing about this company compared to its competition.
Recent news and achievements
It is very likely that companies will want to publish all their successes, so take a look on their website for recent news, press releases, quarterly reports and events that have/are taking place.
What recent articles have they published? What awards have they won? What innovative or ground-breaking products or services do they offer? What makes them a successful business? How and why has their revenue grown? What new clients have they teamed up with?
They will no doubt be excited to talk about this, so it could be a great conversation starter in your interview.
Cultural fit means that the core values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of an employee are aligned with the core values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours of the company. So it is important to know what the culture of the company and how they operate to ensure you will fit in suitably to the team.
Social media platforms can demonstrate the culture in a great way:
LinkedIn: what updates are featured? How do they interact with followers? What job vacancies do they have? How many employees are there, and who are they?
Blogs: What topics do they write about? Who writes their blogs? How often do they upload?
Instagram: what images and content do they post? How do they celebrate success? What does their office(s) look like? What is their following and engagement like? What are their social events like?
Twitter: what do they tweet about? What topics do they highlight? Who do they follow? Are they social and engaging? What tone do they tweet in?
Facebook: What type of content do they share? How do they celebrate success? Do they demonstrate humour or keep it strictly professional?
YouTube: Do they have a channel? What are their videos about? Are they engaging and fun? What employees feature in the videos and how do they come across?
How hard do they work to improve their employer branding, subsequently boosting employee engagement and retention?
Glassdoor is a platform that collects company reviews, salaries info and interview questions from employees (old, current and potential) and displays them anonymously for all members to see.
Corporate culture can encompass everything from dress code and office décor, to history and tradition to the day to day running of a business. So how do you work out if a company’s culture is right for you? We have written a blog here.
By researching the company’s LinkedIn page, you can see what other employees work there. Take a look at their profiles: What is there background? What do they do there? How long have they been there? What team will you be working with? What are their interests?
Take your time to look at the person who is interviewing you too and really get to know their background and specific role at the company. This will make you feel more comfortable when sat face to face with them in the interview and give you an understanding of how they fit into the whole business.
You can never know too much about a company. Interviewers will be impressed when you have conducted your research thoroughly and can ask informed, intelligent questions about the company and the job.
Doing your research will help you to convince the interviewer of why you want to work there and enable you to articulate what makes that company your preference over the competition. By demonstrating you have taken your time to learn as much as possible about the company will leave you in a great position to be considered as an employer at the company.
Areas which will help you research the information of the company are: Website, Google, Newsites, Social Media and (if through an agency) your recruiter. Doing this research is also a great way to prepare for the possible interview question: “What do you know about us?”.