There are loads of articles which describe how prospective employers research or “cyber stalk” candidates through Facebook and other social media means before an interview. It is undoubtedly the job of the candidates to take care of their online footprints, but another ‘must’ on their to-do list is to do a thorough research of the company and if possible the interviewers before an interview.
Doing a proper research allows you to efficiently position your experience and skills to match with the company’s requirements; both on resume and during the interview. In addition, an in-depth research also lets you to determine whether a company is going to be at par with your requirements or not.
So, since what we like to call “informed enthusiasm” is a must, get ready do to a bit of research:
Start with the basics; the company’s website:
This is a no-brainer but the road to researching a company should always begin with a top-down undressing of their website. Start by reading their biography, mission statements, critical points on their business timeline and get a fair idea of the names of advisers and executives profiled on their employee page. You should also know about their core value, who’s in charge of what, and how they run their place. Employers screen resumes for skills and achievements, but they interview candidates for the culture fit. So come prepared knowing what the company values and understand how you can become a positive addition to the pre-existing culture.
Follow them on social media:
Following the company on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter is a great way of getting a sense of the culture. It gives you a snapshot of their professional identity! So read blogs and comments from employees and customers. This will give you a more personal look at the organisation. It would be great if you can pull out the profile of your interviewer. This will help you feel more familiar with the people you meet during the interview. You can also browse for photos to match names with faces.
You can also find a lot of good information about the company culture, rewards, growth opportunities etc through review sites like Glassdoor.com.
Find direct contacts if any:
An online approach a lot of times turns up very little. The company in question might be comparatively small or a new company or might not value digital media. So in times like these, knock your connections if any! Take help of social media to find out people working for company you are applying to. Talking to them will give you a firsthand account of the company’s mission, goals and culture and will also help you understand the role to some extent.
Know their products and services…
Letting a potential employer know that you are familiar with what the company does reflects that you have a legitimate interest in their business. So invest time before the interview and know about their products and services in detail. Search for the most recent transactions and pertinent industry news. Check out “Press Releases “and ‘News’ for the new projects and developments in the company. Make sure the interviewer knows that you are well acquainted with the latest company acquisitions or the product that is just being developed. Also explain how your experience and skills are a perfect fit for the role. For the bigger companies, you can check out their financial health, their key stakeholders and what people are speculating about the future prospects. This can be a very valuable strategy to impress the interviewer.
…and also their competitors:
Researching about the company’s competition can widen your understanding about the sector and industry in general. Not only will this help you decide whether this is the best organisation to work for, but will also help you prepare some insightful questions about the strategic direction of the company.
Remember: Being a cultural fit is among the top most reasons why a company hires someone. So, at the end of the day, the more information you’ll have about the company and your interviewers, the more likely you’ll be able to speak their language during your interview.