Researching an Employer Before Your Next Job Interview
Knowledge is power, and when it comes to acing your next interview … research is the answer. Researching employers is one of the best ways to stand out against other applicants. Employers are looking for forward-thinking employees that do their due-diligence. They want employees that are interested in what they do, that fit in with their culture, and believe in what they offer. By researching employers before you step in the interview room, you’ll have the information you need to provide tailored answers to their questions. Moreover, you’ll also be able to assess whether that employer is right for you.
With that in mind we thought we’d put together a guide to help you research an employer before your next interview.
Explore their company website
When you start your research your first port of call should be their company website. Here you’ll find the public face of their company – the information they promote to prospective clients and employees. First and foremost, you’ll need to find out what the employer does. There should be a clear guide to the services they offer on their website. If this information is vague, this could be cause for concern … or at least an opportunity for discussion.
On the employer’s “About” page, you should be able to find their “Mission” and “Values” statements. This should give you a good insight into how they view themselves and how they want to be viewed by others. Do they target particular types of clients? Are they focused on sustainability? What is their USP?
Once you’ve scoured their “About” page, the next step should be their recent news or blog section. When you go into a job interview it’s important that you have information on what that company has been doing recently. Check out their press releases and news updates. Have they just taken on a new client? Have they announced any important new-hires?
A company’s social media can be a great insight into their culture. Many companies that are focused on employer branding are keen to share information about what it’s like to work there. You might find office photos that offer an insight into the work environment or company dress codes. Alternatively, you might find updates about current employees, new hires, or innovative new projects. Importantly, you’ll be able to glean whether they are happy to offer a ‘social’ side to their company, or whether they present themselves in a formal manner on social media.
Arguably the most important social media platform to explore is their company’s LinkedIn page. Here you should be able to find out who the major players are in the company. Who is the CEO or director of the company? Who’s on the Senior Management Team? Explore their profiles to get insider information about their work-history, achievements, mutual connections, and areas of expertise.
Talk to your recruiter
At Mass-Tech we are strong advocates of building long term relationships – both with our clients and our candidates. Our recruiters will be able to give you a good insight into the employer, their history, and culture of the business. As a candidate, you should be interested in finding out about an employer’s hiring practices, company dress code, interview panel, and any challenges that the company is facing, or what their future plans are. We’re here to help you prepare for your interview so don’t be afraid to ask us for any information that you feel might help.
Check out the interview panel
More often than not, you’ll have the information on who might be interviewing you. If you don’t have that information, you could make an educated guess that it may include the head of the department that you’re being hired to join, and the HR manager. Use Google, LinkedIn and other social media platforms to get some inside information on your interviewers. Check to see whether you have any mutual connections that could offer an insight. You may even be able to find out whether you have interests in common that could help you build rapport in your interview.
Explore their recent job-postings
What kind of job ads has the company been posting lately? Try running a Google search for the company name with the word “jobs” to see what kind of employees they’ve been looking for lately. This might give you an insight into their current pain points or areas that they are expanding into.
Lastly – conduct a company reconnaissance mission
Last but not least, undertaking a test-drive/ visit (if possible) to the company’s office is good advice for any interview. You don’t want to find out on the day that they don’t have any nearby parking/ public transport or that their entrance is hard to find. Being calm rather than stressed is bound to make you perform better on the day, so anything you can do to ease stress on interview day should be embraced. Plus, as well as making it easy to find on the day, you might be able to glean some other useful information. Does this look like somewhere that would be a pleasure to work, or is it a faceless office that looks dingy and unkempt. Whilst you should never judge a book by its cover, this could give you an indication as to what it might be like to work there too.
We hope these ideas leave you feeling more confident in preparing for your next interview. If you’ve experiences of your own to add, please do comment below – and share via social media to help others in your network who may be job hunting right now.