Hands typing on a laptop keyboard.

Preparing for a Job Interview: Company Research

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski
Last Updated: September 01, 2020

After receiving an invitation for an interview, you begin to realize the journey of finding your dream job my almost be at an end. But don’t get ahead of yourself. Before you can seal the deal, you need to get busy preparing for the job interview.

  • Featured in:
  • Featured Logo

Taking the time to do company research before walking through the front door for an interview is an essential part of the employment process. We are taught in school that the way we conduct ourselves during an interview will determine our success but our time is also valuable. Learning about the company’s culture and economic goals will help you decide whether you have the desire to work there or continue the search for a better opportunity.

Here are the top things to learn about a company for a job interview:

Search the Internet for Information

Most of us turn to an organization’s website to read news releases, informative blogs and a company’s upcoming events before we submit our resume for a job posting. While this is a good way to gather information, you can find the honest opinions of previous employees and salary expectations on websites such as Glassdoor.com. Customer reviews on external websites is a reflection of how well the company is treating their customers. If an employee leaves a company and posts a comment online, whether it is negative or positive there is a possibility that it will match the feedback you receive from people that work there if you get hired. In the event that you do not find the true salary of the position you applied for, online websites will give you a range that you can discuss if an offer is extended.

The Interview Scheduling Process

The way that an organization schedules an interview is essential. Did the scheduler provide a flexible timeline or expect you to be available as soon as possible? The interview scheduling experience may be short but it is an indicator as to how they treat their employees. A scheduler that is positive, attentive and courteous over the phone will make you feel enthusiastic about the interview. A follow up email with details and directions is a sign of professionalism that most job seekers will appreciate.

Who is the Hiring Manager?

LinkedIn is a solid base to search for key players that work for a company from the CEO to the hiring manager. Building a rapport within the first few minutes will help you further your chances of being called for a second interview or a job offer. Find out interesting facts about the interviewer that includes the university that he/she attended, if they are a member of an association and their hobbies. If you genuinely have similar interests, mention it and this will be an icebreaker for you before or during the interview. Remember, in most cases the hiring manager will remember applicants with an interesting personality if a long list of candidates are being interviewed for the same position.

Understand The Company’s Story

The candidate that can tell the story of a company from the beginning to the present in a few sentences will stand out amongst the competition. It is the small details that count the most. If you applied for an opportunity at a family business and you mention an online article about the adversity the owner experienced in the beginning and how management persevered, this is a good way for your name to be remembered when the decision comes down to who will be shortlisted. The idea is to not focus on your competition but to be as creative as possible to get noticed.

How Were You Treated When You Arrived?

After you receive a call for an interview, the research process of the company needs to continue. First impressions are lasting impressions. When you arrive, pay attention to the employees that work for the company. Do they look happy or stressed out? How were you received upon your arrival by the receptionist? Did the interviewer offer you a glass of water? Arrive 15 minutes before your interview to get a bird’s eye view of the environment. It only takes a few minutes to gather enough information to determine if the company is a good fit for you.

Your Time is Valuable

Being late for an interview is not acceptable, but your time as a candidate needs to be respected. If the Hiring manager is 30 minutes late for the interview and you do not receive an apology or an explanation, this is not a good sign. This is a red flag and must be mentally noted if you are eventually presented with a job offer. Keep in mind that if the interviewer is willing to make you wait, it is possible that the same thing will happen if you are deserving of a promotion for a better position in the company.

Final Thoughts for Researching a Company for an Interview

What you need to know about a company before a job interview starts from the beginning to the end. Many of us will make the mistake of relying only on a company’s website but the interview scheduling experience and how you are treated when the final day comes needs to be taken into consideration. There are organizations that are competing for top talent. This means that you are also in the position to ask important interview questions and analyze the entire experience. When you receive the job offer, this will put you in a better position to accept or kindly decline.