June 23, 2017
The Company's Culture, Value, and Mission
First off, learn a little more about the company you are hoping to work for. Their website is a good place to start. Many companies have pages on their website dedicated to sharing their values or mission. They may have a mission statement or core values listed, or it may be more abstract. Either way, it will be helpful for you to get a feel for how the company operates. To learn more about the company culture, try talking to current or former employees to see what they liked most about the company. There are also websites, such as Glassdoor.com, that allow employees to talk about the company. All of these things will not only prepare you for an interview, but also help you determine if the company will be a good fit for you. Traci, a hiring expert from Accenture, recommends asking these questions to start your search: “What does the company value in its people and how do you fit in with that? Does the company pride itself in one way or another in terms of either culture or values?” 1
Products, Clients, and Services
Another topic that you should definitely be familiar with before the interview is the basics of what the company does. The exact question may vary depending on the field of the company, but at the very least, be familiar with what their core operation is. Nothing is more embarrassing than realizing halfway through an interview that you don’t really know anything about what product or service they provide. To stand out in an interview, however, dig deeper than just their most popular product. Having knowledge of their main clients or entire product line will make you look professional and prepared, and will impress the interviewer.
News and Recent Events Involving the Organization
A great way to learn about what a company is doing currently is to look for mentions of them in the news. Ellee from Textron recommends “viewing company press releases, which will provide recent company updates. It is important to figure out why you are excited about what the company does and speak to that more than reciting the "about us" page on the company website.” 2 See if they’ve recently released a new product, or relocated to a new office. This could start a great conversation if you mention it in an interview, and will make you stand out in the interviewer’s mind. By going beyond basic knowledge, you will demonstrate that you’re truly interested in what they’re doing, and would love to be apart of it.
Research is an important component of interview preparation, but only if you are researching the right things. Not only will you be ready to answer any question about the company that may be thrown your way, but your knowledge will likely make you stand out above less informed candidates. Charlene, a hiring expert from Gap, sums it up like this: “It is always great to find out as much as you can before sitting down for an interview and definitely can prepare you for what might be likely questions.” 3