How To Research a Company Before You Interview

What will the interviewer expect
 you to know about the company?
Martin Yate CPC
NY Times Bestseller
Professional Resume Services
In this age of technology, there is no excuse for ignorance when the interviewer asks you what you know about the company. But what kinds of information are you expected to know and where can you get it?

The interviewer will expect you to know something about her operations and doesn’t want to spend a lot of time explaining what the company does or how it’s positioned in the industry.
If you cannot answer convincingly it will demonstrate a lack of sincere interest, and you will compare poorly against candidates who make an effort to research the company. If you have done your research, it will show your sincerity and enable you to ask intelligent questions. 

What you should know
  • What the company does, its locations and subsidiaries
  • Its current product line and any new products
News about the company, its products, and key executives
  • Its competitors in the industry and in the local market
s, Its competitive edge in the  market

Visit the company website. Google the company name, brands, products, and/or services, along with the names of any interviewers or other company executives of whom you are aware. Having done this, Google News–search the same terms to find any media coverage. 

You can also search your networks and social networking sites for people who work, or have worked, at this company. Learning that you have an interview will encourage most people to give you any insights they can. At the same time, if you know any interviewers’ names, search these same social networking sights for their profiles; you won’t always find anything, but when you do, it’s a nice bonus. Discover what you can about the position the company occupies within its industry. Is it a leader? Is it growing? How are its products/ services distributed? How do these products/services compare to its competitors—in terms of functionality, pricing, and availability?

What you should say
You should be prepared to discuss the company website, what the company does and how they make their money. For senior level positions this could include a review of their stock price and its history, and a review of media coverage of the organization.

What you should NOT say 

You may find a wealth of information on a potential employer, but impressing them with the thoroughness of your research will not necessarily advance your candidacy.  Do not allude to anything negative about the company, its products or history; any scandals involving its people or how you would do things differently.  Instead, focus on something positive and sincerely affirm it. You can also use the detailed information you pick up to help you highlight the deliverables you bring that would best fit the company.

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Martin Yate
Copyright 2013
All rights reserved

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3 Responses to “How To Research a Company Before You Interview”

  1. Anonymous

    So far I have not been asked anything about my knowledge of the company. I always seem to get questions like, “What is your greatest strength or weakness?” and “Why do you want to work here?”. Being in my late 40’s, I’m not looking to begin or continue a career nor continue my education and incur more debt. I just want a part time job to make extra holiday (or other) money. So, how should I answer the questions as above?

  2. Anonymous

    After reading this article several times, I’m left bewildered why such concepts as “how to conduct a productive job search” and how to research companies prior to applying (not to mention networking amongst people) is not taught, then reinforced and required in all public colleges and universities? It’s a shame.
    Out of curiosity, have you talked with various university administrators (presidents, provosts, vp’s) and, if so, what were some of the major differences between those in academe as compared to CEO’s and other business executives?
    Thank you for the wonderful work you do.

  3. Anonymous

    Also, almost any public library with a reference librarian can provide a wealth of information beyond the reach of Google. They are usually quite happy to help and they are trained researchers. Best of all, their services are free.

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