When a job seeker receives a call from a company about a potential interview a common reaction is to research the company via their website. Depending on the quality of the website, this may give the candidate a good idea of the work the company conducts. In great websites, candidates may get an idea of what it is like to work for the company. Armed with that information, candidates head off to meet with the company and find out anything else they need to know during the interview process.
While this may work, candidates have the potential to impress interviewers with further research and in-depth knowledge of the company.
When a recruiter asks a candidate what they know about the company and receive the answer that the candidate reviewed the company website, they are happy that the candidate took that initiative. When a recruiter asks a candidate what they know about the company and receive an in-depth answer that goes well beyond the company website they are impressed.
The goal for job seekers when dealing with recruiters should always be to impress.
There are several ways to gather information on a company and several different types of information a job seeker can obtain. While the list below is not meant to be exhaustive, it should provide foundational information that will help the job seeker in the interview.
Company History, Mission and Values:
This type of information should be found on the company website. Researching how the company came to be and any evolutions it may have been through can give you insight into some of their growth opportunities and pain points. Understanding their mission and values helps understand what is important to them and gives insight into company culture.
Company Achievements or Changes:
Recent press releases regarding the company can help a candidate gain insight into any major changes the company has just undertaken or new product releases. This information can help a candidate frame interview questions or offer suggestions on how they can help in the new area.
LinkedIn is a gold mine of information for candidates wanting to do research on their interviewers, if their names are known. Information around where they went to school or former employers could establish common ground with which to help set the tone of the interview.
Especially if the industry is new to the candidate, researching it can help demonstrate advanced knowledge in the interview. Understanding who top competitors are, what they are doing and how the company fits in to the overall industry can place candidates ahead of others who do not demonstrate this knowledge.
Conducting company research helps a candidate frame questions and share information in the interview. It can establish common ground and put the candidate more at ease about knowing what they are walking into. It typically only takes an hour or less to gather the type of information that can set a candidate apart as someone truly interested and invested in the role.