How to investigate a company before your interview
Sam Wilson, June 11, 2014
Researching a company before you go for an interview is a significant part of the modern-day job hunt. With so much competition for every job opening, it’s now more important than ever to be as prepared as possible.
Arriving at an interview full of knowledge about the company will, first and foremost, impress the employer.
In addition, doing some in-depth research about the company culture will help you to decide if you would be a good fit there. After completing your research you should fully understand what your prospective employers are all about and what they do - which is key information if you’re going to be working there. So we know why you should look into companies, but what are the best ways of completing the research?
Going into it blindly could mean that you get insufficient or even irrelevant information about the firm that you’re looking into, potentially harming your chances of a successful interview. Here are the best places to look to make sure you’re armed with the knowledge to ace the interview and secure that dream job.
The most obvious place to begin your voyage of discovery is at the website of the firm that you’re applying to. For larger companies in particular their website should detail their values, aims and culture, as well as some more information about what they actually do and how they do it. With this in mind, you should have a wealth of knowledge to go into the interview with.
Nowadays you can use social media in almost endless ways to help you in your job hunt; one such way is by using it to research prospective employers. By checking their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts, you can find out information that you wouldn’t find anywhere else. If the company is constantly engaging with their followers and posting pictures of the latest office night out, then you’ve already got a good idea of what their culture is like. Saying that you have a great company culture is easy, but seeing actual evidence of it is another matter entirely.
Arguably the best place to find out more about businesses is from the lifeblood of them - the employees! If you don’t know anybody personally who works for the firm you’ve applied to then don’t fear – the wonder that is the internet can be used to source feedback from workers past and present at loads of different companies. For work placements and internships, the appropriately titled Rate My Placement has a huge database of user reviews, whilst Glassdoor’s reach stretches further still.
Naturally however, not every place you apply to is going to have a useful website, strong social media presence and a plethora of user reviews to get your teeth into. For smaller companies where information about them is scarce, it’s not going to harm your chances to go into the interview and ask to find out more about the employer: it shows that you’re enthusiastic and keen to know more about them.