As a person who has conducted countless interviews in the past, I am often asked about preparing for an interview. One common question pertains to researching a company before an interview. Many people wonder what kind of company research they should do to impress their interviewer.
While I cannot speak for every interviewer, I can point out the items that I am happy to hear an interviewee bring from his or her company research. I have also included why you should perform company research for an interview, and where to find the information that you need to impress whoever is giving you the interview.
Size of Company
When you are researching a company before an interview, make sure you start out by finding out how big the company is. Find out how many offices or stores that they have. Find out roughly how many workers they employee.
Find out where the corporate headquarters of the company is. While you might not think that it is important, interviewer of large companies usually realize that you have dome some homework just by pointing out that you know where the corporate headquarters is. I remember a study back in the 1980s that found that around 70 percent of workers had no clue where their corporate office was located.
Nature of the Business
I cannot count the number of times in which I interviewed someone that had no clue about what the company did that they were interviewing for. A little bit of company research will give you a good understanding of what the company does, and how they do it.
Companies love to put word out about planned future expansions. By name dropping some cities that the company is planning on expanding to gives your interviewer a sense that you want to grow with the company. Sometimes, you might even find out more information about what is coming than the interviewer knows.
Why Should You Do Company Research for an Interview?
One of the most common interview questions that I have ever heard is, “What do you know about our company?” Interviewers know that a person who knows more about a company is more interested in the job than someone who knows very little or nothing. If it comes down to judging between you and someone else with the same qualification, you will usually win out due to your company research.
Where to Find Company Research Information
The first place that you should stop during your company research process is the company’s website. Usually, most of the information that you need is right there in front of you. You will find out the nature of the business, where the company has been, and where it is planning on going in the future. You will also usually find links to the company headquarters, links to each location (or at least directions), and an idea of how many workers the company employs.
Keep these company research ideas in mind the next time that you are preparing for an interview. Five to ten minutes of company research for an interview could be the difference between getting a job, or continuing to collect unemployment (if you are even lucky enough to collect).