So, you impressed the company and now they have invited you for an interview. You know the job description inside out, know you’ve got the skills and qualifications they need and you’ve ironed your best shirt... all sorted right? Wrong. You should be doing background research about the company for any job interview. And here’s why…
1. You will demonstrate genuine interest
If you wrote a cover letter for the job, I’d take a guess that you said somewhere in there how you’d love to work for the company, how you feel you could do really well there and how you are exactly what they’re looking for. Well, now is the time to prove that. Explain why you love their company using examples of what they do, what they stand for and why that impresses you.
2. You can say how you will grow
Where do you want to be in five years? No one likes that question. You should be able to answer sensibly and confidently. A great way to do this is to know about the growth potential for the business, and their plans for the future. Often companies will describe their goals and will outline the career opportunities for staff. So why not rope that in too? ‘I know from your progression scheme that in the next few years I could aim to become Team Manager. Also I’d like to help develop the IT software side of the company in this role if possible, I know that is something you are looking to expand.’
3. You’ll be better equipped to answer questions
When they ask you how you would tackle a problem you can answer in line with their ethos, or even using an idea from their competitor. Your answer will not only impress them, and show you’d fit in well with that they stand for, you will stand out from all of the other standard cliché ‘I always give 110%’ answers. When asked for your thoughts on the company, stating something along the lines of ‘I know that your main competitor has just introduced an update of this software that offers some new interactive features, I wondered whether that may work with x,y and z product' could really impress.
4. You’ll be better equipped to ask questions
It really does give you an edge when you can ask a meaningful question at the end of an interview. Asking, ‘How many holidays will I get?’ or ‘How long is lunch?’ isn’t really an interview question, that is a practical question, and there are more appropriate times for those to be asked. At the end of the interview you have an opportunity to demonstrate you have listened, and potentially refer back to something they said. ‘When you said you’d want me to focus on assisting with project X, how were you going to tackle the problem of limited timescales?’ Or ‘I know you’ve got a big event coming up in July, that sounds really exciting, do you have plans to stage more events like this in the future?’ This is their business, and people love to talk about their businesses, so make sure you know enough to ask them intelligent questions about it.
So, now you have no excuse to not brush up on your background knowledge before an interview!
Written by Sophie Chadwick