Top tips for researching a company before a job interview

Top tips for researching a company before a job interview

After a long and laborious job search, you've finally managed to get a job interview! It's now important that you prepare correctly in order to prove to the interviewer that you are the perfect candidate - which means showing off your knowledge about the company.

It's easy to find information about the company online such as key dates in the company's history or more recent developments, but the real question is: How can you show off your knowledge about a company without sounding like a robot rhyming off facts and figures?

Our tips will hopefully help you understand the company and how to prove to the interviewer that you are a perfect fit! 

Why research a company? 

First things first, the interviewer doesn't expect you to know every little detail about the company by heart - they obviously know more about it than you do, so why spend time looking up information for an interview which will be focused on you and your reasons for wanting the job? Well, mainly because you are being interviewed not only for a job, but also for potentially becoming part of a group of people who share the same values. If an employee doesn't share the same values as the company or understand it's objectives, it could have a negative effect on the company and the person in question

It's important not only to know the company, but also to understand it. 

If, during your research, you realise that you don't share the same values as the company, how could you work there long-term? At one point or another, there will come a time when you will have a mental block, which is why it's better to realise sooner rather than later and avoid lying not only to the interviewer, but to yourself. 

Knowing the company is not only important for impressing the interviewer but also for yourself - it can help you be certain that you want to join the company and be a part of what it represents. If you already do, it's a good thing, it means you recognise yourself in the company's values, projects or employees. All that's left is to identify other useful information that might help prove to the recruiter that you understand the company and what it needs in order to evolve

What information is important?  

Researching a company doesn't only mean knowing when it was founded and by whom, other information also needs to be taken into account. Before visiting Wikipedia, start by listing different elements that you feel could make a difference if mentioned during a job interview.

Below are several important elements that should be taken into account: 

  • The company's history
  • The company's values
  • The company's commitments
  • The company's long-term objectives
  • The company's working methods
  • The company's employees

Research each of these elements in order to have a better understanding of the company you could potentially find yourself working for. Below are a few examples to help you with your research: 

The company's history

  • When was the company founded?
  • By whom?
  • What has the company achieved up until now? 
  • What have the company's main projects been?
  • What are the company's future projects?

Knowing the company's history will allow you understand its past, how it reached its current status and, most importantly, where it's going. Why not take a look on Google News to find out the latest company news (investments, future projects, current operations, etc.). 

The company's values and commitments 

In order for a company to work well, it's employees need to share it's values and commitments if they want to feel as though their job and the company's projects are meaningful. It's therefore also important that you understand the company's values and commitments as well as whether or not you share them. 

  • How can you relate to the company's values? 
  • How do they relate to your personality? 
  • Why, in your opinion, does the company hold these values and commitments? 

Thinking about these elements before the big day will help show the interviewer that you can imagine yourself working at the company

The company's long-term projects 

  • Where does the company see itself in a few years' time? 
  • How does the company intend to reach this point? 

If this information isn't available online, why not ask the question during the interview? Firstly, it shows your interest in the company and will also allow you understand why it has made certain decisions. It will help you have a better understanding of the skills and knowledge you can bring to the company in order to help it achieve these long-term objectives. 

Where do you come into all this? 

If you have been invited in for an interview, it's probably because you have an interesting profile and could potentially help the company achieve these objectives

However, it's important that you understand what these objectives are and how your profile could be useful. 

You may think that recruitment is just about applying for jobs you like the sound of and highlighting your skills. However, it's more like a project shared between you and the company, in which each party engages in order to develop other projects, which is why it's important to understand the company's main projects and it's reasons for recruiting. It's up to you to prove that you are the perfect candidate, who possesses the skills and knowledge the company is currently lacking in order to acheive its objectives. 

Before an interview, it's crucial to research the company, but finding a few facts and figures online isn't enough: you must understand the company, what it needs in order to evolve and how your profile could help it acheive its objectives. You will therefore need to link the important information concerning the company to your profile and think about how you could work together: the best way to show that you understand the company's needs and long-term vision!