Job interviews can be intimidating. The good news, however, is that there are a variety of ways for you to prepare for your interview and calm those nerves.
One quick and easy thing you can do? Research.
Doing a little research prior to your interview can not only help lower your stress, but arm you with the knowledge you need for a successful interview.
Here’s how researching an employer can help:
- It demonstrates your interest in the job.
- You will learn about the company’s culture, mission and values.
- You will be able to better align yourself to the company.
- It will help you craft meaningful questions.
- It will allow you to determine if the company is the right fit for you .
If you’re still not convinced, don’t worry. We’re going to break things down for you and provide specific examples and research tip to make sure you are well prepared for your interview.
5 reasons you should research a company before your interview:
1. To demonstrate your interest in the job.
Never plan to go into an interview and “wing it” – especially if you want it to go well. After all, employers are unimpressed by job seekers who don’t know anything about the job they are applying for, or the company itself.
Researching an employer beforehand allows you to LEARN. You’ll learn valuable information about their business, their clients and the industry in general.
The knowledge you gain will, in turn, increase your comfort level and confidence during the interview. It will become apparent to the interviewer that you did your homework. Particularly when you are able to have an actual conversation with them about the job and the business.
Not sure where to start?
Consider researching the following before your interview:
- How long has the company been in business?
- What products and services do they offer?
- Who is the CEO?
- What’s the company’s mission?
- Are there any recent news or updates about this company?
Simply put, doing research before your interview will demonstrate your seriousness about a position. And it will go a long way in making a good impression.
Show them that you want the job. Take the time to investigate.
2. To learn about the company’s culture, mission and values.
It’s important to look beyond what a company does. And researching an employer before an interview enables you to do just that.
How? It allows you to view them with a wider lens.
After all, a business is more than just the services they offer or the products they manufacture. A business is also a brand, a culture, an environment.
Knowing what a company’s mission statement is and what they value will help you uncover a deeper layer to the business. You’ll gain insight regarding what the employer cares about, what they prioritize and it will ultimately help you discover who they really are.
You’ll now have a bigger, more clear picture of the business. Not to mention a better understanding of what the company prioritizes — and even what it might be like to work there.
If you don’t do your research, you’ll have a limited view of the organization. This could be a problem for you later on, especially if you find that the company is not the right fit for you.
Investing a little time in researching an employer will help you both learn more and make a more informed decision later on.
3. To better align yourself to the company.
Your main goal in an interview is to show the employer that you are the right person for the job. Since you’ve already learned what the company does and what they care about, you can now market yourself to them in a way that makes sense to their business.
Take note of any words you find repeated through your research and – when appropriate – incorporate them in the experiences you share.
For instance, if the company values accountability, share experiences where you demonstrated accountability. Maybe you consistently hit all of your assigned responsibilities before their deadlines. Or maybe you led a team to reach a large goal.
Aligning your skills and experience to a company in this way, will show that you not only understand what’s important to the company, but that you’d be a great fit to their company culture. The hiring manager will have no trouble envisioning you on the team.
4. To help craft meaningful questions.
It’s important to have questions ready to ask at the end of your interview. It shows you have prepared and have familiarized yourself with the company and what they care about.
And it has the potential to make a great impression on your interviewer.
But you don’t want to ask questions that don’t add value – or that you could have easily found the answer to by researching an employer beforehand.
Avoid obvious questions such as:
- What does the company do?
- How long have you been in business?
- Who are your competitors?
- What is the company’s mission and values?
These questions are guaranteed to make you seem lazy or uninterested in the position. You most likely would have found answers by doing some investigating.
Demonstrate that you did your homework by using your knowledge to ask more insightful questions.
Ask thoughtful questions such as:
- I saw on the company website that X is one of the core values of the business. How would you say this position demonstrates that value?
- I know that the company’s overall mission is X. But can you share some of the company’s short and long-term goals with me? What part would I play in helping the business achieve those goals?
- I see that X is important to your company. How would you say that team leaders set employees up for success in that area?
- I know the company has a strong culture of X. How do you feel your team exemplifies that culture?
This will show your interviewer you’re eager to be an asset to the business. And, as an added bonus, you’ll discover if their business goals align with your professional goals.
5. To determine if it’s the right fit for you.
The average person spends about 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime.
Now, imagine you hate your job. How many hours of your life will you spend dreading going to work? That’s why researching an employer is so critical.
Before you begin your research, however, you first need to determine what’s important to you in the workplace. Is it professional growth? Healthy work/life balance? Quality training and development?
Once you know that, there are several resources you can utilize to investigate a potential employer. Sites like Glassdoor, for example, where you can find feedback from current and former employees about the work environment and company culture.
You can also look into company reviews, customer reviews, and charities and organizations they support.
Sites like Google and Yelp might give you some general information on what people think of an organization. You might also find employee and client ratings through more specialized sites like ClearlyRated.
Getting insight on how people feel about a company and how they present themselves to the world can help you decide if it’s somewhere you actually want to spend one-third of your life.
As you can see, doing research on the company you’re going to be interviewing with can only help you. And it’s also worth mentioning: interviewers can tell if you’ve prepared for the interview or not.
Invest in your future and do your homework. Researching an employer before your interview will set you apart from other applicants, increase your confidence and help set you up for success.
How TERRA Can Help
If you are interested in more interview tips, check out our blog. We have some great articles designed specifically to help job seekers thrive.
Here are some helpful job seeker articles we have available to help you prepare for a successful job interview:
- How to Prepare for a Virtual Job Interview
- 5 Quick Tips to Make a Good First Impression at Your Next Interview
- Questions You Can Ask to Nail Your Interview
And if you are interested in getting help with your job search, don’t forget that a staffing agency is a great resource. Recruiters want you to be successful and often provide additional support, including interview prep.
(Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.)