Researching a Company before the Interview: Top Tips

Good news! They loved your application and you’ve got the interview. But what do you know about the company? As soon as you get the invitation, start doing your research. Not only will you impress at the interview, you will also get a feel for the organisation and whether or not you’ll fit in there. Here are approaches we’ve used to researching a company pre-interview:

1. Check out the company’s website

Your first source of information is pretty obvious: The company website is likely to discuss its vision, values, and mission. Much of this material can look very similar, so read between the lines to figure out what makes this organisation stand out.

Look closely at any sections dedicated to employees. What kind of company culture comes across? Does the organisation seem to have a genuine interest in its employees or does the material seem generic or insincere.

2. Examine the company’s online activity

Apart from the company website, another rich source of information about your possible next employer is the corporate blog. For a start, do they post regular updates? If they do, check out any reports on new products and new hires. These kind of updates indicate a dynamic company that’s focused on growth.

Search for the company on LinkedIn. What kind of updates does it feature on its company page? These will give you an indication of what kind of culture the company operates. Find out whether anyone from your LinkedIn network already works there and ask them about their experiences. While you’re there, look at the profiles of people who may be interviewing you. Ensure that your privacy settings are configured so that they will see that you have viewed their profiles. This indicates a thorough approach to preparation and enthusiasm for the role

Don’t forget to check out the company’s other social media channels. Does it adopt a casual or formal tone in its tweets and Facebook updates? Does it even maintain a regular social media presence? How does it respond to comments and complaints? File away any positive interactions to use in your interview, and listen to any alarm bells that go off in your head if the activity is largely negative.

3. Read what others say

By now you should have a good general idea of the company culture, giving you some useful background information for your interview, as well as an indication of whether it’s the kind of place you’d like to work. Before the interview, check out sites such as Trustpilot for descriptions of client experiences. Employee review sites including Glassdoor will give you anonymous reviews by employees. Take these write-ups with a pinch of salt, however, because many will be written by people who have had either extremely negative or extremely positive experiences with the company; neither are likely to be indicative of the average employee or customer’s experience.

4. Observe at the interview

Arrive at the interview early, so that you can spend time watching daily life unfold at your potential future workplace. How do staff interact with each other? Does the atmosphere seem tense and pressurised or relaxed and cooperative? What is the dress code?

At the interview, take the opportunity to ask questions about what it is like to work at the company. Try to find out as much as you can about your working space and conditions. After all, if you are successful, you could be spending a third or more of your day here!

5. Ask after the interview

You’ve been offered the position! Once the initial excitement dies down, think about the questions you were afraid to ask at the interview. This is a good time to ask about more casual issues you were reluctant to bring up earlier. Remember, however, that the job isn’t yours until contracts are exchanged, so don’t give them any reason to change their minds.

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