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What you need to know about a company before an interview

So, you’ve managed to clinch a job interview after an arduous search – congratulations! However, there’s still some hard work left to do in the form of research, research and yet more research. You need to know as much as possible about the company you’re interviewing with so as to avoid not being caught off guard during the conversation. Since technology provides access to a wealth of information, it’s up to you to make the most of it and increase your chances of getting hired. Here are a few key facts about the company you should familiarise yourself with:

Check social media channels

You should assume your future employers will be checking all of your social media accounts, and it’s only fair for you to check them out. Pay special attention to the quality and frequency of content posted, as well as the tone of voice used. If the company is relatively young and uses a witty writing style, it’s okay to loosen up a bit during the interview itself. But if the company is in a traditional sector, such as banking or law, express yourself accordingly. It will also help give you a hint on how you should dress for the interview.

Research their public impression

While companies control their own social accounts, they do not hold similar sway over the media. Check major news and trade publications for recent updates on your chosen company. There are tell-tale signs of growth in an operational expansion plan, new managerial hires and declarations of quarterly or annual profits (for publicly listed companies or those who choose to release it). On the other hand, if the company is in the news for all the wrong reasons (corruption, sub-par leadership, massive quarterly losses) you might want to rethink your interview.

Dive into the company culture

While there is no completely accurate way to gauge this until you join the company and experience it for yourself, you can still gather an impression of a company’s by talking to current and former employees. If possible, head down to a career fair or networking session the company will be at to chat with employees about their experiences and determine if you would be a good fit. If that isn’t an option, check if employees are tagged in the company’s social media posts and then check out their profiles, if they’re public. Don’t hesitate to message them, introduce yourself, explain you have an upcoming interview, and ask if they’re comfortable answering a few preliminary questions you have. Usually, employees that are happy at work are comfortable talking about it on social platforms.

Uncover company values

Thoroughly read through the company’s website, making sure to digest the corporate values listed to make sure they resonate with what you’re looking for in an employer. If there are case studies and client testimonials available, browse through them and determine the qualities the company is known for. If the material talks of numbers and KPIs achieved, the company is results-oriented. On the other hand, if the company is involved in a lot of outreach, training and community work, they probably value development and cultivation of human potential. If for some reason this information is not available on their website, it’s definitely something you should ask about during your interview.

Read up on competitors

Prominent companies are likely to have competitors who are as, if not better, established than they are. Do your due diligence by finding out what sets the company of your choice apart from the competition. Study the other business and determine what values and beliefs they hold dear. Note any and all differences in communication styles, offerings and positionings, and try coming up with your own insights. Your research will undoubtedly pay off during the interview process.

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