The two questions we’ve spent the most time focusing on in a job interview are the first question: “Tell us about yourself” and the last question: “Do you have any questions for us?” A third question is likely to come up in every job interview that we haven’t addressed, and that is “What do you know about our company?”
The first bit of research is easy: learn the job description. Some job descriptions are short and some last forever, but go through them, pick out the important points, and be able to repeat them. If you know that a company needs someone that has a forklift credential, then you know something about what the company does. You’re going to need this information throughout the job interview to show how you are the perfect candidate for the job.
The second bit of research is networking out to your contacts that currently work for the employer or have worked there before. When you talk to them, ask about what the company does, about the management structure, about the hiring process, and if they remember anything about the interview. It would be good to have a few tips on what’s coming.
The last place to look is the internet. Companies now have corporate sites, Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, Linkedin pages, and all other forms of media. They might even have some Youtube videos of what they do. You should always know something about a company that you’re applying to and the internet makes it easy. It also can help you network, because you can find people you know on LinkedIn that have worked for the company and send them a message looking for some basic information.
One other way that they may ask you to show off your research: “Why do you want to work for us?” This may seem obvious, but “I like money” isn’t the answer that they want to hear, no matter how true it is. Because you’ve done some research, point out something good about the company you learned. If it’s a job you think you’ll enjoy say so. Talk about how much you enjoy helping people, or customer service, or whatever field you’re applying for. Tell the interviewers about the good things that your network told you about the job.
Knowing something about a company that you’re applying for may make common sense, but with the increased use of internet job banks, sometimes a job will come up with a company you don’t know a lot about. Fortunately, we live in an Information Age with dozens of avenues to do research into companies before sitting down with the employer. Do your research!