You often hear that researching a company you are interviewing with is a big part of preparing for an interview. You might think to yourself, “I already know the company; it’s been in my backyard forever.” Or you may go onto the company’s website, read the “About Us” page, and call it a day. Don’t stop there, though. You’ll need more information than you think to not only figure out whether or not this company is “The One,” but also to successfully ace an interview. We recommend you do a deeper dive by exploring these other avenues:
The company’s website. Navigate around the entire site to get clues about the culture, sustainability, and history. Look through the “Leadership” page to check out the backgrounds of those who are running the company (you might find you share an alma mater with the person you are interviewing with, a great conversation starter). See if there are any pictures of the employees at work, which will give you a hint about the dress code.
Social media. The company’s hiring manager is likely checking you out on social media, so reciprocate and look at the company’s LinkedIn profile and employees’ profiles, as well. Check out the company’s Facebook page, if it has one. Social media is a great avenue to find out whether or not you share a common interest or connection with anyone at the company.
News. Although most company websites commonly provide a feed of their news, one of the easiest ways to get up-to-the-minute reporting is to set up a Google Alert, which will automatically send any news related to the company directly to your email box. If there are any trade publications that relate to the company’s industry, look through them to see what the current trends in the industry are.
Current or past employees. You’ll find no better intel on a company’s culture, policies, and even management personalities than from someone who’s been on the inside. Do you know anyone who works at the company? Did you go through your contacts on LinkedIn and the list of employees who are connected to the company on LinkedIn? How about asking your friends or family members if they know someone? If you’re working with a staffing agency like Masiello, ask your Staffing Manager to give you any information they can on the company.
Financial reports. If the company is publicly held, it is required to publish financial reports on a quarterly and annual basis. You might not understand the financial statements, but if you read through the report, you might find something material about the company that hasn’t hit the news, such as an earnings hit because the company was fined for disposing of waste in a sustainability-unfriendly manner.
The internet makes it easy to peek into a company’s window before you go for the interview so you can not only decide whether or not their culture is right for you, but also so you can speak intelligently about the company during the interview. You won’t get far if you answer the question, “Why do you want to work here?” with, “Because all my friends do.” Let them know you did your research; it will definitely pay off in the end.