Developing Your Career

Developing Your Career

Do the Research: Five Steps to Becoming an Informed Candidate

By Greg Simpson on February 21, 2014

Just 30 minutes of pre-interview research could be the deciding factor between you and your competition. Undercover Recruiter reports in a poll of 2,000 managers 47 percent said the most common mistake job seekers make during an interview is having little or no knowledge of the company.

We know that organizations research job candidates prior to an interview. HR recruiters and hiring managers check out Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles and search engines to vet candidates. Add the candidate’s resume with work history and educational background to the mix, and the potential employer has a good deal of information available. If you’ve been invited to interview, you know the hiring company is interested. So let’s talk about how you, the candidate, can gather the information you need to nail the interview.

Here are five simple steps you can take to learn about the organization and interviewer prior to your meeting:

  1. Visit the company’s website. The website will provide the information the organization wants you to know: the mission statement and history, the products and services, the company’s press releases and the latest financial figures. While not as objective as third-party sources, the website provides insight into the organization’s sales and marketing strategy as well as its corporate culture.
  2. Tap into social media. Check out the top social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc.) for both the organization and interviewer and review corporate blogs. Reach out to your networking contacts for their input about the company.
  3. Search smart. Use a search engine and set alerts to find recent articles, reviews and legal issues related to the organization. Also conduct a search for the interviewer’s name to gain insight into his or her background and interests.
  4. Investigate the local angle. If you’re interviewing with a national or global organization, you still need to get up to speed as to what’s going on at the local level. Search your local newspaper or Business Journal for nuggets of information on the organization or interviewer.
  5. Uncover inside intelligence. Glassdoor provides reviews of organizations written by current and former employees—in addition to salary information and actual interview questions asked of other candidates.

Conducting research prior to an interview will set you apart as a serious candidate who respects the interviewer’s time, understands the importance of preparedness and wants to demonstrate interest in the position. And that could be the deciding factor.

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