How to Research a Company
Remember, the goal of a job interview is to prove that you're the right person for this particular job. The best way you can prepare for the interview is to know everything there possibly is to know about the company in general, the specific job -- even your interviewer.
Your research starts with the job listing itself. Read it over several times, highlighting the key responsibilities of the position and the type of work experience required. Remember, there's a good chance that you'll be interviewed by the very person who wrote the job listing. In that way, the listing is like a sneak peek inside the interviewer's head. Look over the responsibilities and requirements that you've highlighted and begin to think about how you can match your skills and experience to each entry on the list.
Now it's time to get a bigger picture about the company itself. Start with the official company Web site, beginning with the "About Us" section, and learn more about the company's overall mission and vision. Then, it's time to brush up on current events. What are the biggest new product launches, acquisitions or projects? A great place to find this information is by browsing press releases from the past few months. These can either be found in the "About Us" section or special sections called "Press Room" or "Media."
More and more companies have official blogs, Facebook pages, YouTube channels and Twitter feeds [source: White]. Gobble up all of this information. Look for stories or ideas that really grab your interest. Take notes and write down some follow-up questions that could spark a conversation with the interviewer. Think of questions that show both your knowledge of the industry and excitement about contributing to the company's growth.
Lastly, use your personal connections to get an insider's view of the company [source: Adams]. If you have a LinkedIn account, search your network to see if it includes any employees of the company. Reach out to them and notify them that you have an upcoming interview. They might be able to tell you something about the position or the interviewer that could help you be even better prepared for success.
Now that you've done your research, it's time to develop a self-marketing plan. What kinds of questions should you expect to be asked, and how will you give the best possible answer? Learn more on the next page.