It’s a very common piece of advice to give to candidates for them to ‘do their research’ before an interview in order to prepare, but sometimes this can be a little vague and candidates don’t know where to start when preparing for an initial interview with a new company. Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of the research you should do beforehand to prepare for & give yourself the best chance when introducing yourself to a potential new employer:
Researching the company itself
The best place to start is with a company’s website – from here you can gain a good understanding of what the company does, how they operate & the company’s culture. You can use it as a way to understand the different sectors & locations they operate in, the size of the company and more. Once you’ve checked out the main website of the company, check for a careers page to find out more about different benefits the company offer & investigate what they feel sets them apart from their competitors.
After diving into the direct sources of information about the company, it’s time to think a little further outside of the box. Using tools such as Glassdoor to check employee reviews, Googling them to find out news & articles of the company, will all formulate an extensive amount of knowledge in order to answer questions around what a company does & what you know about them.
Also, it’s a great way to generate a list of questions around parts of the company you wish to know more about, and ultimately shows you’ve gone above & beyond to prepare and show your interest in your potential new employer.
Understand the job role and responsibilities
Ensure you read the job specification carefully, to avoid any surprises in an interview. Identify in the experience section where you feel you’re strongest & where you feel you may be able to improve. Knowing these points allows you to display your strengths when questioned about your previous experience, whilst allowing you to be honest when asked about things you feel less confident with – interviewers always appreciate this honesty, as long as you show you’re willing to apply yourself and learn new things!
You want to be leaving the interview with as much clarity as possible about what working for a new company looks like, so here’s a perfect chance to ask those questions and build a true opinion on how this position will affect your career.
Know your interviewers
Ultimately a huge part of any interview process is your interviewers judging how well you will fit with your potential new colleagues & team-mates. No connection in an interview? Often this will be the quickest way to an unsuccessful outcome. You can have all of the knowledge and experience required for a role, but if the people you speak to can’t get along with you or connect with you, you won’t get very far.
The best way to avoid this is to research the people you’re meeting. Here, Linkedin is your friend. Investigating a hiring manager’s previous career path, mutual connections, interests & activity allows you to get an indication of the kind of individual they are. It may be that you both have a contact in common, both work with similar technologies or you see something on their profile that you’re also interested in – all of these things are hidden gems in an interview to build a relationship & get bonus points with an interviewer. Remember, ‘culture fit’ is something tested in one way or another in almost every interview, so showing you’re a match will go a long way in a company’s decision-making process.
Understand the logistics
This one seems a little obvious, but definitely worth a mention. Know the location for the interview, be clear of your route & ensure you leave plenty of time to get to your destination without risk of being late! Always check the address for a company’s office & understand what the journey entails, as this could be a route you follow many times in the future if you receive an offer and join the company!
Establish why you’re interested & what you like
Last but definitely not least, it’s important to have a good idea in your head WHY you’re interested in the company you’re interviewing with. Maybe it’s the technologies they work with? Maybe it’s the sector they operate in? Maybe it’s the growth opportunities & culture of the company? There’s many different reasons why a company might interest you, but it’s super important to identify these so you can really express your interest, passion & curiosity in the interview itself.
Above all, following these tips & ensuring you prepare thoroughly for any interview will give you the best chance, whilst also allowing you to gain as much knowledge about a potential new employer as possible and make informed decisions on companies you speak with.
In summary; Ask intelligent questions & give educated answers for the best chance moving forward!
Good luck 🙂