There’s an art to preparing for an interview. Part of it is physical – appropriate attire and body language – and another part is psychological, the right attitude and air of competence and confidence.
However, arguably the most influential part is preparation, practical homework that is done before you even contact the company you’re interested in working for. This can range of from financial to cultural to historical background, finding out who are the high flyers and understanding your role in the company.
Don’t Be Nonchalant
Having a devil-may-care attitude to research is ill-advised. Take a meticulous approach and the pay-off could be extraordinary. Preliminary research will give you insight on how relevant your skills and experience will be to the role.
It will ensure that the hairy ‘what do you know about our company’ type of questions are met with a cool and confident response. The bounty of information out there makes it relatively easy to conduct some armchair research, a lot of it is free.
You can start by searching online for company information at Duedil.com, which is the largest database of company financials in the world.
Annual Reports and Financial Data
An annual report is the golden goose in terms of giving you insight on where the company stands in relation to the marketplace. A healthy annual report will indicate a strong financial direction and stable growth patterns. Using online research tools you can find everything from the date of business registration, insolvency details or actions against the company, plus of course the annual report for download.
A website gives clues about the brand identity of the company, their ethos and how they view their customers. It’s also key in assessing the aims and goals of an organisation. This ethos should be taken as gospel for the interview.
Social Media: The Word on The Street
Social media mining is an excellent way to find out juicy titbits of information about their target market. It’s a great way of assessing their current and future business strategies and also any potential weaknesses or strengths in their operations.
Networking on LinkedIn
Back in the hey-day of the internet, sometimes organisations forgot to secure their Intranet. Nowadays, web-savvy companies have the sense to cordon off these areas to the public. Instead, join conversations on LinkedIn. Befriend employees of the company and ask them frank questions about the company’s culture and what it’s like working there.
Speak with their HR team to get a sense of their recruitment procedure. Doing so is a big positive in their book as it shows initiative, enthusiasm and will also make an impression in their minds.
Doing research is necessary and part of getting a foot in the door before anybody else. It’s never foolish to be inquisitive about your future potential employer and one of the best ways to do so is to use free database tools.