Preparation and knowledge are key throughout the hiring process because they allow you to demonstrate your ability to successfully fill the position you're applying for. Doing a fair amount of research about a company before your interview allows you to gain a better understanding of the employer's expectations and craft effective answers to interview questions.
In this article, we explain why learning about a company during the hiring process is so important and explore a list of key details you should look for as you prepare for your interview.
Why is learning about a company before an interview important?
When preparing for your interview, you should devote time to learn some key details about the company because you can then use the information you gather to demonstrate your interest and eligibility throughout the hiring process.
Oftentimes, the knowledge and insight you gain give you a better understanding of the type of candidate they are looking for and allow you to craft thoughtful questions that highlight your interest and commitment. Additionally, this information provides you with insight into the needs, challenges and successes of the company, enabling you to mention relevant details that showcase your expertise.
Before your next interview, you can make sure you're adequately prepared by researching things like the company's:
1. Highly valued experience and skills
As you prepare for an interview, it can be extremely useful to gain some insight into the things the company looks for in ideal candidates. With this information, you can adequately highlight the qualities that make you the best candidate for the role. You can usually discover the experience and skills that the company values most by carefully reading the job description and exploring the career page on the company's site. Additionally, you can often learn a lot by asking current employees about the employer.
Related: How To Prepare for an Interview
2. Customers, services and products
Learning about the details of the company's business is essential before an interview because it allows you to answer questions more effectively as well as ask thoughtful questions of your own. When candidates are knowledgeable about what a company does and its target audience, it typically demonstrates that they are ambitious, organized and truly interested in the position. You can usually learn about the company's offerings and customer base by visiting their website, exploring the blog and studying the white papers and case studies.
If you're able to figure out who will be interviewing you, it's a great opportunity to learn a bit about them so that you can foster a meaningful conversation and make a memorable connection. In many cases, the name of your interviewer is included in the email coordinating and supplying the details of your interview, but if that information wasn't provided, you can always send a follow-up message asking for your interviewer's name.
After you get the name of the person who will be interviewing you, you can learn more about their role at the company, background and even their interests by exploring the team page on the company's website and/or their professional profile on social media.
Related: 15 Things To Do Before an Interview
4. Mission statement
An organization's mission statement describes its motivations for being in business and the values that give it purpose. You can usually find this information on the company's website or in marketing materials. If you're having trouble finding a definitive statement, you could use the values they mention or how they portray themselves to determine the organization's primary motivations.
The company's current standing is certainly important, but having a basic knowledge of its past can help you gain a better understanding of its accomplishments, growth and challenges. You could discover things like:
- Past business partners
- Changes in growth
- Alterations to policies or processes due to new management
Use the information you gather to showcase your genuine interest throughout the interview.
Aside from being knowledgeable about the company you're interviewing with, you should also be aware of their top competitors. Interviewers sometimes ask questions related to the company's competition to gauge your awareness of the industry, preparedness for the interview and general expertise.
7. Unique selling proposition
In addition to researching the company's top competitors, spend some time determining its unique selling proposition, or USP. This is the thing that makes the brand unique and helps it compete in the market. By showcasing your understanding of the company's USP and market positioning, you can highlight your expertise and genuine interest in the role.
Determining the company's culture allows you to understand the kind of workplace it has and can be a great indication of the kind of candidates they are looking for. To determine the culture of an organization, you can usually evaluate how it talks about the workplace and employees on its social media profiles.
Knowing this information before the interview allows you to align yourself with the culture and demonstrate that you'd be a good fit. For example, if the company has a casual and vibrant culture, you could mention that you value working in a creative atmosphere.
Related: Guide To Company Culture
You can often learn a lot about a company by researching those that have important roles in the company, such as executives and upper management. Reading the employee bios and the about page on the website are usually good ways to learn who holds the leadership positions within the company. Additionally, you can find the social media profiles for these individuals to gain additional insight into the company and the roles they play.
10. Latest mentions in the news
When preparing for an interview, it's a good idea to become knowledgeable about a company's latest developments and news. You can get a better idea of the recent achievements and challenges of an organization by checking to see if they have press releases on their site or by performing a simple search on the Internet.