If you’re on the market for a job, or considering switching to a different company, you need to be well prepared for the interview. Most of this prep should occur before you even submit your application. Tailoring your resume and feeling confident in your information will improve your odds of winning the position you’re after. It’s worth taking the time out of your day to do your research so you can make informed decisions about how to approach a company about an employment opportunity.
1. Key branding information
What’s the company’s mission statement? What are their core values? Most of the time, they’re so generic that they apply to every company that makes an effort to seem conscious of social issues and the environment, but some companies adhere to more strict stances on specific issues. It helps to know what a company’s charitable affiliations are and to research organizations they collaborate with. You’ll develop a better understanding of their values and the impact they have on the communities they reach out to. Remember, the way this company projects their brand will reflect you, if you end up working for them. So make sure their mission aligns with your personal values.
2. How the employees describe their jobs
You’ve read the resume, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect real life experience. Knowing how current or former employees would describe their position will give you a sense of how things work around the company’s offices.
Take advice from the experience of others. What were their responsibilities? How would they describe the position? What skills did they find useful in their workplace, and how do they differ from those the company included with the description? Descriptions are usually vague. You may think you have what they’re looking for, only to be blindsided later.
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3. What makes them different from the rest
No company is the only company doing what they do. A lot of companies are doing the same thing with a few differences that corner their piece of the market. If Company A and Company B are providing very similar products and services, yet they both manage to thrive, it’s the differences that allow them to exist. You need to be able to isolate those differences to understand why you as a potential employee or anyone who is a potential consumer would opt for one company over another.
4. Their chain of command
Who reports to whom? Who is the CEO? You need to know these things. It’s imperative that you know and job all of the major players within a company and familiarize yourself with their accomplishments.
If the current CEO created a successful major overhaul, that’s something major that will cause a ripple effect throughout the entire company. It may even help to look at the chain of command on a smaller scale to see what positions you can work your way up to in the event that you’re hired.
5. Recent news about the company
What’s going on with the company currently? This includes expansions, closures, changes of ownership, and any major restructuring. What are people currently saying about the company? Any rebranding or new offerings generally warrant an opinion from consumers, and reading the company’s social media comments can give you an idea of how they’re being received.
Remember that at an interview, it’s more important to be knowledgeable about the company and their ideals than it is to tell them what you believe they want to hear. Informed applicants are perceived as more interested in the job than individuals who are merely eager to spout off their qualifications.