by Thomas Ostrow, The Denzel Group
You may be tempted to “wing it” before you go into an interview. So you’re confident… that’s great! Confidence will take you far when you’re in the interviewee’s seat, but there are a few reasons why it’s not the only thing you’ll need to get the job. We’re going to break down why researching the company you’re interviewing with is not only important, it’s crucial. 1. Research shows your interest in the company
First, there are few things that will turn away an employer more than a person who knows nothing about their company. These interviewers are actively working day-in and day-out toward accomplishing a mission – they care about the success of their organization, and if you show that you care, too, it may put you one step ahead of the next candidate.
Researching a company ahead of time not only puts you in a position to speak knowledgeably about what that company is looking to accomplish, but also gives you some useful wisdom about the industry and the position as a whole. Having some facts in your back pocket to bring up in the interview will improve your confidence too, and it’s another opportunity to show the employer that you do your homework. Key company info to research:
· The company’s mission
· How long have they been in business?
· Is there any interesting, recent news about this organization?
· What products / services are they offering?
2. Understanding the company helps you to develop insightful questions
Every interview has a moment where the interviewee is asked, “Do you have any questions?”. This isn’t just a polite formality; this is an opportunity! Asking a question is not just about getting the answer you’re looking for – an insightful question can say much about the person doing the asking. A well-placed question can make quite an impression on a hiring manager. What should you ask?
· “What are this company’s short and long-term goals? How can this position help achieve those goals?”
· “What is a successful person in this position achieving 6 months from now?” (this shows you’re not just thinking about getting hired today, you’re already planning how you will succeed in this role)
· Tie-in something you learned during your research. For example, “I noticed X is important to this company; this is why my skills relate to X” or “ABC company recently rolled out a new product – will this role be focusing on supporting or building this product?”
Avoid asking questions that show you did not do your research:
· How long has this company been in business?
· What do you do?
· What is your mission?
You don’t have to wait to ask insightful questions, either. The best interview feels like a conversation, so if you have a few questions to ask, make them count.
3. Learning about the company helps you to find out if this is the right job for you – ahead of time!
For people between the ages of 25-54, the national average work week comes in at 40.5 hours. In their lifetime, the average person spends 90,000 hours at work! If you could avoid working somewhere you’re not going to like, wouldn’t you? This is yet another reason why you should research the company before you start committing your time and energy into interviews.
In the process of your research, you could discover things about your prospective company like:
· Is there a healthy work/life balance?
· Employee satisfaction? (This can be an insight into how the company is managed, too.)
· Professional Growth?
But how can you find out some of these details without asking people who already work there? Thankfully, the digital age has gifted us some tools that peek under-the-hood of any prospective employer.
The easiest way to read about feedback from previous and current employees - as well as obtain data on salaries - is to utilize free review websites like Glassdoor. Often you can hear directly from people who have worked in the position you’re applying for, and it’s not always pretty! Keep in mind, a review is more commonly left by a disgruntled employee than a happy one (it’s human nature), so take it with a grain of salt. You may save yourself some trouble or use this as a resource to really target the type of companies you know you’ll be happy developing your career within.
These three reasons are why it’s so crucial to research the company you’re applying to. Not only can you find out if it’s the right fit for you, but you can also arm yourself with useful facts and a better understanding of what your position is seeking to accomplish. Maybe this gives you the edge over the next two people applying, or perhaps it helps you determine if this is really the right opportunity.