Five ways you can research a company’s background before an interview

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A woman sitting at a bench with her laptop researching a company’s background before she attends an interview.

If you’re working with a recruitment agency to find a job, they’ll tell you that preparing for an interview is an essential requirement if you want to receive a job offer. Among other tasks, there’s the reading through the job description, familiarising yourself with your CV, considering your answers to potential interview questions, and the list goes on.

Equally important is the researching of your potential employer. Why? For one, you should want to know who you’ll be working with and the kind of people they are. Secondly, in the interview this knowledge will earn you points that may lead to a successful offer.

Here are some of the areas you should consider looking into prior to your big meeting:

1. Check out the competition

There’s no better way to find out where your future employer’s market position is than by looking at their direct competitors. The easiest way to do this is by using Google to look up companies in their industry. You can also see a quick snapshot of their competitors by clicking through to the company profile page on LinkedIn and reviewing ‘similar companies’ on the right hand side. This will then give you a sense for what the company’s key points of difference are.

Read up on the industry as whole and you’ll be sure to impress your interviewers if you can talk knowledgeably about their sector as well as where you believe their company fits into the picture.

2. Look at their company culture

Company culture plays an incredibly important role in helping you decide how you’ll fit in with your future bosses and team members. Start following their social media channels and see how they engage with their audiences. This will give you a flavour for the personality of the firm. Secondly, go to Glassdoor, a site that collects staff reviews; you’ll be able to see the positive and negative comments of previous and current employees. All this will give you an overview of the business’s values and vision. Again, the info will be useful for you to know anyway, but will also help you steer the conversation towards areas you know are important to them, or away from potential prickly topics.

3. Delve deeper into their finances

Exploring the financial health of the business will give you an indication of their future direction. If they’re a larger firm, they may have an investor section on their website with press releases and financial details relating to revenues and company risks. The info for smaller businesses and start-ups might be a little harder to find, but if you dig deep enough you should be able to discover something that will be useful for you.

Once you’re armed with this data, take from it what you need. Hopefully it will give you the confidence to know that the business is going in the right direction; it should also furnish you with some key facts with which you can impress your interviewer.

4. Who the key players are in the company

Look at who the company bosses are and their backgrounds. Just go straight through to the ‘about’ page and do your research on the directors and management team. It might also be an idea to follow them on twitter to find out what they’re saying as well. Understanding the senior management better will reveal the business’s influencers, which in turn informs the values and inherent company culture.

5. Who their clients are

By having an understanding of the customer, you’ll be better placed to appreciate why they do what they do and how they go about it. Demonstrating this insight in the interview will almost certainly stand you in excellent stead with your interviewer.

If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help you in your job hunt, get in touch today.

Author David Morel Tiger Recruitment Team

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