Interview coming up? A key part of your prep will be company research but what's the best way to approach it?
During any first interview you are likely to be asked what you know about the company you’re applying to work for. It’s a key question that you need to be able to answer convincingly, if you can’t you might as well not bother going to the interview. It’s a huge turn off for any interviewer to be sat across from someone who is either ‘blagging’ an answer or who just hasn’t bothered to give their interview preparation the time it requires.
Put time aside
Unless you were told about the interview at very short notice you have no excuse! Do not underestimate the impact your answer to this question will have on your application.
A good answer shows enthusiasm, passion, research skill, initiative, organisational skill and that you’re serious about this job and this company – and displays many of the characteristics of a good employee. A bad answer potentially highlights the exact opposite.
Anyone can look at a company’s website and remember/regurgitate the information that’s on there. That’s definitely a good place to start, but try to dig a little deeper and do something that the other candidates you’re up against won’t have thought about. You could:
Use LinkedIn to find out about the interviewer (s) and company
Talk to current/past employees you might already know, to find out more about the business as a whole, the culture and what it’s like to work there
Call one of the company’s offices to find out more about them
Speak to suppliers or associated businesses to get more information about what the company are like to work with
Look at the company’s social media channels for current news
Do a detailed Google search to find other sites (news or industry sites) that mention the company and their activity
Download the company’s annual accounts from Companies House
Your research should be designed to show knowledge/enthusiasm and give you the advantage of being able to tailor your interview answers to the company and role. Don’t be tempted to use what you’ve learnt to criticise the company or start what could be deemed as a negative conversation.
If you’re interviewing with a smaller company and you can’t find out much about them, that might be a good talking point at interview – at least you tried!