Receiving that ‘Congratulations…’ email after weeks of applications, interviews and stress can be a huge rush. You spring out of bed buzzing with energy, get to the office an hour…
So you have secured an interview, congratulations! Now it’s time to prepare.
One of the main ways of making sure you’re ready for an interview is researching your potential employer. You could have a degree, or a large amount of experience, but without displaying knowledge of the company you are interviewing at, you may come across uninterested, which will cost you the job!
By researching the company, you will be able to assess exactly what the company does and will then be able to think about your transferrable skills and what you can bring to the company. Not only this, but you will be able to research into the people you will be meeting with, which will give you additional confidence.
When receiving confirmation from your recruitment agency, ensure that they have supplied you with either a job description or brief, your interviewer’s names and job titles, company website and location.
Give yourself a good amount of time to study their website, particularly the ‘About Us’ section. From this you will be able to gain basic knowledge, which you can then prepare questions about. If you are interviewing for a role in a specific department, take a moment to look over any department notes you can find. When looking at the website of the company you are interviewing at, take in the design work. Look at the logo, the colour scheme and the content within the website. Design work is a huge part of a company’s success. Think about why they may have chosen certain designs and colour schemes.
Think about the company’s mission – what service do they provide and why? Look into their target audience – what is their demographic? Do they have set departments for certain divisions within the company? You can then think about the company’s reputation within the industry, looking into their competition and why your company is better than said competition.
In this day and age, most companies have social media accounts. This may be on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or LinkedIn. Take the time to look over such pages. It will help you gather an understanding of the company culture. If you have a record of your interviewer’s name, take the time to look over their LinkedIn page – this will give you knowledge of their role within the company and knowledge of their career. You may be lucky enough to find some blogs on the company website, or even written for external companies by employees at the company. Take time to read these, as they could really give you an insight into the company from an employee’s perspective.
You may have friends or family in a similar role, or even may work in the company that you are interviewing at. Use this to your advantage. Ask them about their role, about the departments and about the company. You will be able to really get an understanding of how your potential employer works and whether it is the type of company you could see yourself working for.
When researching, simply search for the company name on your search engine. By doing this you may uncover press releases and news articles which could benefit you during your interview. If the press is positive, you should definitely discuss it with your interviewer. It will express your interest in the company and may just make you stand out from the other interviewees.
Towards the end of your interview, you are likely to be asked if you have any questions. By completing extensive research, you will be able to prepare excellent questions. Not only will such questions benefit you in your interview process, but it will prove to your interviewer that you are willing to push yourself and wanting to learn more about your potential employer. Ask the interviewer about the company’s culture and about the social aspect as this can be very important when thinking about a new job.
You must plan to arrive early to your interview, as it shows good manners and time management skills. Use this time to your advantage. If you have made notes, take one last look over these as you sit in reception. It is also an excellent time to take in the ambience within the office and see if the atmosphere suits you and your work ethic. You can also pick up an understanding of the dress code within the company.
Occasionally you may find that a company’s website is down, or is very private with their information. When this happens, display interest by informing your employer that you are extremely interested in the company and are very keen to learn more about it. Your interviewer will be happy to discuss the company with you and give you a further insight. Just remember to ask the right questions!
It may not be just you doing some background research. Your interviewer may glance over your social media pages. It could be a good idea to check your privacy settings, whether this is on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Do you really want your potential employer to see your weekend’s antics?! You may have professional social pages, which will not display personal views and will be focused around your current job. Make sure your spelling and grammar is up to scratch on said pages. And be prepared for your interviewer to discuss any postings you have done. Take a moment to look yourself up on a search engine. What comes up? Make sure whatever comes up is positive, if it is not, make sure that it is removed! The Internet is an extremely useful tool. Ensure you are using it to your advantage.
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