‘Fail to prepare and prepare to fail’ is a common saying that we’ve all heard and it’s very true when planning for your interview.
Employers are looking for the right candidate for the job – that means the person who has the right skills and experience to do the role, the person who is a culture fit for the business and finally the one who wants their job, not just a job.
The key to this final point is research and preparation. You need to know that you want the job to convince them of the same. Making a career move is a big step and you need to go into it open eyed to make sure that it’s the right move for you as well as the employer, making sure that you are the right person for them to employ. Think of it as a house move. You wouldn’t agree to purchase a house without doing your due diligence and this is no different.
So, how can you research the employer that you are about to meet to ensure you’re as prepared as possible? Check out our top tips!
Check out the company website
A good look over their website will give you a flavour for who they are and what they do. On here you will gain information on how they position themselves in the market and the products and services they offer. Most websites have an ‘about us’ and a ‘meet the team’ page which will give you a useful insight into what they do, how long they have been trading and how many staff they have.
The person who is interviewing you may also be on there and it might put your mind at rest seeing their picture and learning a little more about them and their role before you attend. Also, take a look for a ‘news’ page which might tell you more about awards they’ve won, charities they’re affiliated with or recent business news which you may reference in your interview.
Take a look at their social media
Most employers have some form of social media and whether they do or they don’t may give you an idea of them as a business and how they communicate their brand on the world wide web. You may choose to like or follow their social media pages to get up to date news and insights which might be useful in your interview.
Use Google and Google News
Searching the company on both Google and Google news will give you an idea of more than just their website. You may find reviews from people who have worked alongside them, or even reviews from current or previous employees who have worked there via sites like Glassdoor.
If there is any news announcement about the business such as buyouts, expansions into new markets or even things like announcing record profits with some keen research you can get a rounded view of what is happening for them at the moment.
Use your network
Do you know someone that works there, or has worked there in the past? It could be worth having a coffee with them to get some insight from them about what it was like to work there, what they do etc. Bear in mind everyone’s experiences are different and that the organisation will have evolved over time.
You could also look at your LinkedIn page – are you connected to someone that works there? If so, you could drop them a message explaining you have an interview and to ask if they could spare you 5 minutes to ask them about the business and what it’s like to work there.
Understand the industry and the competition
If you’re interviewing for an industry that you’ve worked in or currently work in you may have this one nailed already, but if not and it’s a change of sector some research into the industry would be really beneficial.
Get to know the market – who are their competitors locally and nationally? How does their service/offering differ from their competitors? It’s useful for you to know their position in the market and how the industry is performing generally. Google is a great source of knowledge for this.
Summarise your research, and plan questions
Once you’ve researched, screen shot key things and made notes put it all together in a ‘research pack’. No doubt this will have generated questions along the way which will be great for you to discuss at the interview and make you look very well prepared. Take the research pack with you too! It shows preparation, commitment and the type of person you are.
You want to do all that you can to stand out if this job is the one you really want and this is just one way. If you can make your questions specific to your research or the industry it will help you stand out from the generic questions about training, progression etc.
By now, you should be armed and ready to smash the interview! You should know the company, their financial turnover, how long the company has been trading, how many staff they have, who their competitors are, their position in the marketplace and you should have some questions prepared. If you don’t know all of these things then you haven’t done enough research!
When working with a recruiter you get much more than just a job spec and we can give you lots of invaluable information that will help in preparation for your interview. For advice and support in your job search drop us a line on 0114 321 1873 or email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.