There’s nothing that can turn an prospective employer off than a lack of knowledge about their business from an interviewee. It shows a general lack of interest and integrity and you can throw away all your hard work and preparation in one easy step. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Following these simple steps, with a little bit of work and research you can wow your interviewer with an impressive insight and place yourself firmly at the top of the pile.
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Your prospective employer’s company Web site is the best place to see the company as it wants to be seen. Do check out that annual report, but also look for a “press room” or “company news” page that links to recent news releases. As you mull all this information, consider how the open position, as detailed in the job posting, relates to the company’s mission.
But don’t stop there. Use the company site’s search facility to query the names of the hr manager and any others on your interview dance card. You may retrieve bio pages or press releases that give you insight into their most visible activities at the company. “Learning about the interviewer is probably the most valuable thing you can do,” says Ron Fry, author of 101 Great Answers to the Toughest Interview Questions.
Next, get some vital statistics and independent perspectives on your prospective employer. Hoover’s Online, for one, provides capsule descriptions, financial data and a list of competitors for thousands of large corporations.
Now broaden your perspective and see what general-interest and business publications and Web sites are writing about the employer and its industry. Search national publications for news on major companies; use local newspapers to learn about small businesses and how big businesses interact with their local communities.
Taking cues from your research so far, drill down into your target company and its place in the industry by looking at trade journals and other specialised publications. “Get a few months of the relevant trade journal, You’re going to find out about new products and what the trade is saying about the company.”
Finally, if you hope to have a company checking you out, try Googling them first. You just might come up with a nugget you would have missed otherwise.
While you’re at it, Google yourself to make sure you and the interviewer are on the same page. Because if he’s or she’s savvy, he’s doing unto you as you’ve just done unto him and his company.
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