Preparation is essential for success in any interview.
Rocking up to the interview having done little to no research on the company is a massive gamble. I’d hedge a bet by saying it pretty much ruins your chances of getting the job.
The fact is, preparing for the job interview is critical for making it run smoothly, in fact, it makes the interview 100X easier! Plus it boosts your job interview confidence going into it.
In this article you’ll learn some of my best strategies for effectively preparing for a job interview.
Step 1. Comb Their Website
Going into the interview, you need information. The more the better. And the best way to get most of this info is from the company’s website.
Before every interview you should do a very thorough combing of their website. Look at their About Page and learn as much as you can about the company. Look at their blog and ready some of the recent articles. This will allow you to pick up some of the trends and topics on the companies mind.
Blog content is often created to add strength to marketing campaigns, and marketing campaigns exist to communicate the wider goals, philosophy, and unique selling position of the company. So there’s usually some highly valuable information on their site that will come in handy during the interview.
Step 2. Look At Their Social Media
Another way of getting some quick insight into the business and what it stands for is through its social media. The thing I love about this strategy is that it’s (usually) updated daily. Meaning that you can get some fresh glimpses into things happening in the business fresh off the press.
Social media will also give you a lot of exposure to a lot of content (directly from the horse’s mouth) in a short space of time. It should help fill in any gaps that you missed from combing their site.
Step 3. Skim Press Releases, Media Kits, & Investor Reports
Depending on the type of position you’re going for, and how long you’ve got to prepare for the interview, these resources can give you incredible insight.
Press kits often give incredible “media pitch” related content. This is usually short, sharp, and snappy descriptions of what the business is, what they sell, and the value they see it offering to their customers.
Investor reports also give you an incredible insight into the state of the business as a whole. This includes reflections on the industry, reflections on the business and its leadership team, as well as its goals for the next financial year.
However, this will usually be of most benefit to higher level roles, especially at the executive level.
Step 4. Search For Any Press Or Mainstream Media Features
This includes articles and Youtube clips from news outlets or large publications.
For example, if it’s a tech company then you might find some articles on Techcrunch. If it’s a digital agency, you might find some articles on the company in AdWeek. If it’s a large corporation, especially a multinational, then check out any mainstream media outlet, or local publisher of financial news (such as the Economist or Wall Street Journal).
This is mostly relevant for large companies, as most smaller companies won’t have media written or created around them. However, most industries have trade journals or industry insider blogs – so check out a few of those to start getting a clearer understanding of the business, the temperature of the market it participates in, and insight on its history.
Step 5. Seek Out People In Your Network Who’ve Worked There
This is as simple as going to LinkedIn and finding someone who worked there previously.
What’s even better is if you discover a friend or mutual friend who currently works there. This contact will be able to give you some brief insight into the company and what they value in employees.
This can give you an extra edge over other applicants as you go into the interview. It can allow you to learn what someone in the previous role failed to bring to the table, and that they’re now looking for in new applicants.
It can also help you discover what the company values in its staff, as well as certain strategies they use to interview their applicants. This insight can allow you to prepare for the interview more strategically. I know from personal experience how incredible valuable this one is!
Step 6. Be Able To Describe The Business Back To Someone
This is essential for ANY job interview. I’m no exaggerating, this has been necessary for every single job interview I’ve attended. Not “many job interview,” not “most job interviews,” but all of them.
At some point in the meeting, usually near the start, the interviewer will ask you “what do you know about us?” They’re not simply asking what you know about their company, they’re seeing if you’ve done your homework, they’re seeing if you’ve taken the interview seriously and done the proper preparation beforehand.
They expect you to know what the company is, what they sell, how they sell it. In essence, you need to be able to briefly describe to them what the company is, and what it does and sells. While doing this preparation allows you to answer the question effectively, it actually makes the interview easier.
Why? Because it opens up the door for you and the interviewer to have an engaging conversation about what the company, and your potential role within its direction.
Step 7. Discover What The Values Of The Company Are
This isn’t a deal-breaker going into an interview, but it certainly helps.
This is especially true if you’re going for a job at a small to medium sized business, where staff members are very visible, and the risk of someone bad coming into the company and damaging the culture is quite high.
If the person knows you well, and has worked with you before, then they may able to add a little insider influence as well. If you’re a star performer, and they’ve worked with you when you’re in your element, then this word of mouth endorsement could work wonders for application.
You Might Also Like:
- How To Have Rock-Solid Confidence In Job Interviews
- The 3 Most Important Things To Do In Any Job Interview
- Questions To Ask In A Job Interview
Will Vaughan is the Founder & CEO of Your Career Mastery. He’s dedicated to helping young professionals discover and land the job of their dreams using a mix of proven strategies, tips, tools, and mindsets. He currently works as a Content & SEO manager for a 100 million dollar tech company in Melbourne, Australia.