In a sea of similarly qualified applicants, what will make you stand out?
Your skill set? Resume? Appearance?
While all of these things are important, the secret to standing out in an interview is – passion … passion for the company you’re applying for. You want to show the interviewer that you are invested in the company and care about them and what they do. You want to be their biggest fan.
While this may sound difficult, it actually boils down to simply being prepared. By doing your homework and showing up to an interview well informed about the company, you’re showing the interviewer that you want this job and that you’ll take whatever initiative is needed to succeed. You want to be as knowledgeable about the company as their own employees.
The problem with most job seekers is that they don’t know where to start. They don’t know how to prepare for an interview outside of printing a resume and wearing a suit.
At My Interview Practice, we know what it takes to land your dream job. And surprisingly, it all comes down to knowing nine simple things about the company you’re applying to.
Keep reading for a step-by-step break down of what you need to know about a company before your interview.
1) What is the company mission?
The company mission is the backbone of any company, and it will tell you a lot about who they are such as:
If a company’s mission resonates with you, chances are you will be a good match. If you are, take the initiative to tailor your responses to interview questions with their values in mind.
For example, if the company is environmentally friendly, it might be prudent to suggest ways that your job could be made “greener”.
2) What product or service does the company sell?
The products or services of a company often convert the company’s mission into a consumable product or action. Take time to figure out what the company sells and why it’s so great.
This will give you important information if you can learn to read between the lines. If a company prides itself on speedy delivery or awesome customer service, you can use this information to your advantage during an interview.
3) Who are their customers?
You can’t serve a company without serving its customers in some way. They are the heart and soul of a business, so you should have a good idea of who their customers are. A couple of factors you should know include:
Knowing this will help you better explain to the interviewer how you can contribute to the company in specific ways.
If you’re unsure of how to get this information, take a look at their reviews. Whether it’s on Google, Amazon, or even the company’s website, customers love to leave reviews of their experiences, and these reviews can give you insight into who they are and what they do or don’t like.
4) What is their history?
Looking at a company’s history will give you an idea of who they are, how they conduct business, and what direction they might move in. Knowing a company’s history is as important for your own sake as it is to impress the interviewer. You don’t want to end up in a company that historically does not take care of its employees.
You can find this kind of information all over the internet. From public stock offerings to social media, there’s a wealth of information out there that will give you insight into who the company is. Some helpful sites you can use include:
5) What does the company need?
Companies interview potential employees when they have a spot that needs to be filled, and it’s up to you to figure out what they need. Once you figure out what the need is, you can figure out the best strategy to position yourself as a solution to meet that need.
The best way to figure out what a company needs is often hidden in plain sight within their job ad. Take time to read the ad carefully and analyze the language they use. If the ad says they need someone who can adhere to a strict deadline, you’ll know they want someone results-oriented and organized. You can then use this information to your advantage.
6) Who is leading the company?
A company’s personality trickles down from the top. It’s important to know who is leading the company because this will give you insight into what the company values, what they are looking for, and what the company culture is like. You can be sure that other employees in management positions will share certain qualities with the CEO or president, so this will help you connect with them as well.
One of the best ways to find out more about a CEO or manager is through LinkedIn or Facebook. These platforms tend to attract mid- to high-level management, and they are more likely to share aspects of their personality on these websites.
You can also look through the website for employee profiles or material written by them. News articles are an often overlooked source that can provide information about leaders within the company or company events where you can network with other employees.
7) Who is interviewing you?
Interviewers don’t hire resumes; they hire people.
This means that if they have three candidates who are all qualified, ten times out of ten, they’re going to choose the candidate they have the best connection with. Therefore, it’s vital that you get to know your interviewer before the interview.
Find out who your interviewer is, whether it’s through their email or the job ad, and then do your research. Just like in the previous section, LinkedIn and Facebook can provide a wealth of information about the person who will be interviewing you.
You can find out about their interests, history, and goals, and then use this to your advantage. If you see that your interviewer has a dog in their profile picture and you have a dog that’s the same breed, you can use this to build rapport.
Just make sure you do so intuitively and naturally. If you’re dropping comments about how much you love your dog out of the blue, it will come off as awkward and forced.
8) What’s going on with this company right now?
Bringing new people up to speed with what’s going on in a company can be a real pain, so you can circumvent this problem completely by being informed of current events. Whether the company has just merged with another company or are preparing to launch a new product, being “in the know” will work to your advantage. You’ll be able to use this information to position yourself as a valuable employee while also impressing the interviewer with your knowledge.
Thanks to the internet, finding out about a company’s current events is only a click away. Check Google for any recent press releases or articles. You can also check out the company’s website and social media pages to see what’s going on with them now.
9) Learn from current and past employees.
It can be difficult to get in contact with current or past employees, but the payoff can be huge. Nothing can give you as much insight into the inner workings of a company as somebody who’s been there themselves.
You can find current or past employees on a number of websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Sometimes, you can search for these employees through their current or past employers, but you can also search these websites for unofficial employee-made groups and join them.
You can also use websites such as Glassdoor or Indeed to check out what former employees have to say about the company. Although not as effective as talking to an actual employee, you can gain valuable information this way.
An interview starts before you even walk in the door!
Remember that old adage, “Dress for the job you want”? The same concept applies here. If you want the job, know what an employee would know.
Show your passion for the work and the company by doing your research. This is the single greatest factor that will separate you from a sea of similarly qualified candidates.
Receive a summarized version of our exclusive training program, tips and other interviewing insights for free.
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