It’s standard advice to receive when job searching. Everyone tells you to research the company before, during, and after you put in an application so you can properly decide if this job will be the right fit for you. But no one tells you how you should research a company. The common and likely response to that piece of advice is to go to the company website, perhaps look at the homepage and the products or services pages. However, no one ever gives you a detailed process regarding how to thoroughly research the company to prepare for the interview. We’re giving a step-by-step guide to help you research for your next opportunity.
Check The Website
Begin with the obvious, but don’t stop at the homepage or products/services pages. Go to the team page, take a look at the people you’ll be working with. Review their bios and find some common ground with them. People like working with people they have things in common with. Additionally, take a look at their executive or advisory board. Who are the people that will be leading you and your company? Do they represent the things you care about, and are they working toward a future you imagine? Read over the values of the company (which are likely the board’s values). Do they support your values? Will they grow your career the way you want? Lastly, go to the Careers page and review the other open positions. You may have already applied to the position that drew you to them, but sometimes other candidates are better fits. However, that shouldn’t discourage you from applying for another position with the same company, department, or team. Another opening may be a better fit, so it couldn’t hurt to take a look.
Consider What Makes Them Unique
While you’re on the website, dig a little deeper. Look to find the one thing that makes them unique in a market where at least a few, if not several, other companies offer similar products or services. They may boast about it right there on their About page, or they may hide it within news or blog articles, the C-level executives’ bios, or the History page when discussing how the company got started. What makes them different from the competition? Is it their target audience? Their goals for the company and where it’s going? Their approach with customers/clients? Or do they have a product or service no one in the market has tried to broach yet? If so, why have they decided to step outside the box despite any challenges that have deterred the competition? All the answers to these questions will help you to discover if this team is the right fit for you, but also will help you gather the information needed to impress the hiring manager(s) during your interview.
Identify the Company’s Strengths
Identifying the business’s strengths will help you to answer the interview question, “why do you want to work with us?” We all know you want a better paying job with better benefits, but you could find that from a lot of places. Why do you want to work with them specifically? The answer is simple: tell them what makes them awesome! Usually, this information can be found on the homepage or About page, as they’ll want to keep what makes them great front-and-center. However, if you want information that isn’t as easily found (and, therefore, will impress them more), take a look at blogs or news articles with quotes from the team members. Read what they say about themselves when they’re bragging about their work. How do they describe their accomplishments and strengths? Do they focus on quality and value? Or are they all about data and results (the finished product)? Use that information to form your answer in the interview, so that your answer is shaped the way they would answer.
Research Their Competitors
The point of an interview is to impress the hiring manager and your potential future team with your knowledge of the position, the company, and to prove that you can do the job even before you’re hired. A great way to do that? Research the competitors and take notes on what they’re doing well that can inform strategy for your potential employer, what they’re not doing well, and what neither is doing that they should be doing to get ahead of the curve. Also notice how they describe their own advantages over the competition. What do they think is a strength in their service or product that their competitors don’t have? Factor that into your answer as well. Your thorough insight will impress them and it will help you create your 30-, 60-, and 90-day plan to discuss with them during the interview.
Get to Know the People Interviewing You
Take the time to get to know a little background information on the person(s) who will be interviewing you. After discovering their name, find their employee bio on the website. After taking a look at their quick biographical paragraph, find them on LinkedIn. Pay close attention to how they describe their responsibilities and how long they’ve been with the company. This information will help you decide if this position is right for you. Take a look at what they’ve shared on social, particularly their LinkedIn activity, to get some background on their personality and what they care about. On their other social platforms, what news from work are they sharing? What are their interests? Are their posts humorous or more poetic? Short and quirky or more long-winded? These things will give you an idea of how they think and talk, to give you insight into their personality. If they’re more laid back, you can joke a bit during the interview. If they’re more rigid, you’ll want to keep your interview answers more formal and professional.
Reach out to People in Similar Roles
It’s that time in your research to come out of your shell. This is the only part that doesn’t involve the safety of hiding behind a screen. If you want thorough detail on the daily responsibilities of the job, what the company culture is like, and to learn more about the people you’ll be working with, you’ll want to find them on LinkedIn and message them. That’s right; virtually meet your future team! To do this, go to the company LinkedIn page and click on the “employees” link. It’ll take you to a list of people who work for the company and their job titles. Find the users who have the same or related job titles to the role you’re applying for and reach out to them. They will likely be your team if hired. What’s even better, if you get the job, you now have a few people to have lunch with during your first week. Research is a quick way to make friends before you even land the job.
Good luck! Leave a comment to let us know how the interview process is going. For more help with your job search, keep following our blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel to keep following our podcast.