How to Research a Company for an Interview & Land Better-Paying Jobs
Are you looking for a new job in the new year? Your success might hinge on how well you avoid your interviewer’s pet peeves. In a 2022 survey, hiring managers shared their feelings about the behaviors most likely to spoil a candidate’s chances. And at the top of the list? A lack of preparation.
If you’re not immersed in the hiring process, you might assume that rattling off your standard list of responses and anecdotes is enough. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Interviewers want to know you’ve done your homework, researched the company, and tailored your answers accordingly.
Rather than fishing around aimlessly on the web, you can focus your time on analysis that can yield quick and useful results. We’ve put together a few tips to help you find juicy nuggets of information on your dream job. That way, you can clinch your interview (and even identify if their workplace is right for you).
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Scrutinize Their Website
The company’s web pages are an obvious starting point. A quick read of their About Us can tell you how leaders perceive the company, why the business does what they do, and what milestones they’ve reached so far. Yet that’s just some of what you can extract from the website before your interview.
- What does the company see as their differentiators? What separates them from the rest of the pack? Candidates who can articulate a company’s market advantages are better at crafting persuasive interview responses.Here’s what we mean: If a data solutions company highlights rapid delivery on their website, you want to talk about stories of successful coding sprints or ways you’ve implemented accelerators. If an energy company emphasizes sustainability, talk about any projects that streamline operations or how you’ve used outside-the-box approaches to overcome big challenges.Whatever the company, you’ll find these types of messages repeated from the home page to their services, products, and blog. Sharing your alignment or ability to add to these differentiators can impress your interviewer.
- What are their values? At the right company, values are more than just words; they’re governing principles for the way people work. Both companies and professionals seem to feel similarly: 84% of companies hire for culture fit and 56% of job seekers won’t even interview with companies that don’t share their morals. Figuring out what a company values can help you determine if the company fits you and, if it does, illustrate the alignment.On their website, you’ll see what they perceive their values to be, a good indicator of how you should be pitching yourself as a candidate. However, that should only be half of your research. The rest should be done on sites like Glassdoor or Great Place to Work® to get a full sense of what people like and dislike about the actual culture. Then, you can ask for clarification or elaboration during the interview, giving the company a chance to put their money where their mouth is.
- How is their website laid out? UI buffs aren’t the only ones who should pay attention to website maps. What companies prioritize in their navigation, as well as the individual page layout, can tell you what they think is most important, be it specific services, certain customer segments, or cornerstone values. This can provide you with some clear and critical talking points to hit home and show your comprehension of their business.There’s even a chance to get an impression of their target audience. Most companies in the private sector will arrange their website navigation based on the type of business they want to win or the business that brings in the most profits. Your ability to pinpoint those buyers and your awareness of their motivations during your interview conversation can gain the favor of the hiring manager, especially if you can assert how your work will benefit those users or customers.
Review Their Social Posts
It’s not all fun and games on social media. What a company posts across their various accounts gives a glimpse into the work culture you’d be joining, often in ways that don’t come up on the website or in the interview. Different platforms will have distinct approaches, but there’ll be collective insight across them all.
- How do they celebrate their wins? A paycheck is great (who doesn’t like money?), but it’s nice to know that when the team hits goals or completes projects, the organization isn’t pushing people to hit the next milestone without a moment’s pause or recognition. That nonstop tempo leads to exhaustion and burnout after too long.If there’s balance, you’ll likely see it on social. They’ll recognize their employees with brief posts about accomplishments. They’ll share pictures of happy hours or parties. They’ll even include snapshots of the personalized ways they show gratitude to their people.Not only does that give you a picture of what their culture is like, it gives you some talking points to dig deeper in the interview and let the hiring manager chat about what doesn’t end up on social media.
- In what ways do they give back to the local community? Companies are more than profit margins. Where and how they give back can show how they envision their business fitting into the bigger picture.One way to explore their involvement is through their corporate giving program. Larger corporations often list their strategic approach to giving as a method of brand building. You can also check the FEC’s website for political contributions (if an executive’s political alignment is a nonnegotiable value for you).Social media is another avenue. Since some organizations are humble about their contributions, you want to review the accounts of the company, leaders, and employees to get a complete sense of how they give back.
Learn about Your Interviewer
If the company seems right for you, it’s important to show as much alignment as possible. To that end, you want to build rapport with your interviewer (who you should know before your scheduled meeting). Remember, you’re interviewing with a person as a corporation.
Researching an interviewer requires a few approaches. One is digging through their LinkedIn profile. Some people highlight everything from their career history and education to their achievements and community involvement. Those types of details should help your ability to kick off conversations and guide your responses.
There’s also value to getting more granular details on a person. Running a Google search on them can help you to find articles on Medium, interviews, podcast guest appearances, and other tidbits that can give you a perspective on what they think and value. And it’s those details that can help you create connection and make an impact.
Getting Some Extra Help
Getting the inside scoop on these organizations can take time, but it’s well worth the investment. But what if you could benefit from that sleuth work without all the effort? Working with the right IT recruiters can help to learn how to maximize your results and increase your odds of locking down the jobs you really want.
Learning how to research a company for an interview is a key step in any career, but it’s not the only thing you need. Our recruiters can give you an inside glimpse at what you need to thrive.
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