Being ready to ace a job interview takes some advance prep, including anticipating and practicing responses to questions that may be asked.
Merely coming up with canned responses that could apply to virtually any company and/or interviewers is a good start – it scores about a C or C+ on the “I am ready to nail this thing” scale. But to earn a solid A or better, drill down further and get into as many specifics about your possible future employer as possible.
Areas to Research
Candidates with a solid grasp on a company’s products or services, core values, competitors and customers are more likely to leave a memorable, positive first impression. Areas to research as you prepare for that interview win include:
- Your interviewers: They’ll definitely be checking you out, and an interview is nothing if not a two-way street. So, do the same. Find out who will be interviewing you and learn all you can about them on LinkedIn and via other social and traditional media and contacts. You may even find a non-work interest you have in common, which will make a great interview icebreaker.
- The company’s core values: Speaking of making a mutual connection, you need to ensure your values, goals and vision align with that of a company before you commit to working there. Generally, you can find core values and mission statements on a company’s website Hint: If not, dig deeper. Don’t let this one fall by the wayside.
- Skills the employer values most: Your best source for this information is the job description. You can also contact current company employees for further insight.
- Competitors: A great starting point is com. Try to pinpoint key similarities and differences to show you understand not only the competition, but also the bigger market and industry picture.
- Recent developments: Is the company launching a new product or planning an expansion? What else is new that may be impacting business direction? Look for press releases and similar updates as you scour social and traditional media.
- Clients or customers: Look for case studies or white papers that may showcase customer service situations they employer takes pride in. Also, when on the company website, look for testimonials telling why customers or clients prefer them.
- The company’s leaders: Just as you did with members of your interviewing team, get the scoop on the company’s senior managers. They may be one and the same, especially if you’re interviewing for a higher-level position or with a smaller organization. Either way, this is invaluable information to have.
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