Congratulations, you’ve just scheduled an interview! Whether you’re familiar with the company already or its existence was news to you, you’ll need to take time before your interview to do research.
Why bother? Between knowing which questions to ask and learning relevant cultural information for your upcoming decision making process (fingers crossed!), there are a multitude of reasons everyone recommends heading into an interview having researched your potential employer. Candidates who don’t take the time to learn about the company prior to their interview tend to sound ill informed and uninterested compared to their competition. Do your research and you’ll get more out of your interview! Here’s a good method for doing that pre-interview digging:
1) Company Website: First head straight to the company website (if you don’t know it, Google it!). Peruse their webpages, making sure to pay extra attention to the about us and what we do sections, and take notes. These notes will come in handy later!
2) Team Pages: Not every company website has team pages but, if your potential employer’s does, take advantage! If you know who you’ll be interviewing with pay extra attention to their bio’s and accomplishments so you’ll feel more familiar with them when you head into the interview tomorrow. It’s only fair, after all, they’ve already perused your resume. Browse through the bios of other employees, particularly those who would be in your department, to see how your bio stacks up. Don’t take too much stock in comparison here, but a general base of knowledge could come in handy when you head into your interview. At the very least you’ll feel more comfortable and feel less like you’re surrounded by strangers. That may help calm your pre-interview nerves!
3) Articles and Press Releases: Companies will often include links to articles they were mentioned in or publish their press releases directly on their website. Read through these and take notes about product and service accomplishments and pay attention to any cultural information they may contain. If there aren’t any articles or press releases directly on their website, do a bit of googling to see if these are posted elsewhere on the web. For this step, credible sources generally hold more clout than fringe blogs, so make sure you’re reading each piece with a grain of salt.
4) Reviews: Reviews from current and former customers can either be honest insights or vengeful criticisms, so it’s important to look at these with caution. On the one hand, you don’t want to head in to your interview in a negative, jaded headspace. However, you also won’t want to get too hopeful about an organization that is failing in its customer’s eyes. If you want to, read through a few reviews but try not to weigh the information you gain here over your other research.
5) Review your notes: Time to go back to the drawing board! Check out your notes. Are there still things you’re curious about at the company that you haven’t been able to find? Those make for interesting, engaging questions in your interview. Make sure to think up a variety of cultural questions and technical queries to bring up in your upcoming interview! These questions could make or break your final impression so you’ll be glad you did.