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Study Up Before Your Interview

Candidates today are looking for any edge to help them secure a job offer. One crucial area that you can prepare for is being able to discuss the organization you are interviewing at. It is crucial that you are prepared and can demonstrate why you are interested in a company. You want to show your interviewer that you are genuinely interested in contributing to their company specifically, and are not just looking for a steady paycheck from just anyone. This requires that you study up on the company. This will not entail a trip to the library or a thesis on the firm, but just some basic information gathering.

Take 15 minutes to review the company’s web site. Review their history, what they sell, and key personnel. Be sure to look at other positions they have open – this will help you understand where they are focusing and provide some sense of their growth strategy. Take notes and devise a few questions that make it clear you did your homework.  For example, “I saw on your web site that (fill in the blank); how will that impact your department and the future of the organization?. These questions should not reference anything about benefits or salary!

Google the company – they may be googling you! A quick view of the top responses from this search engine may provide you with some interesting tidbits about the organization. This information is both good for you to know personally and to demonstrate your knowledge during an interview.

Make some notes about how your background ties in with the company’s background. Have you worked at similar companies in size and scope to this firm? Have you worked with similar products? Find a way to connect yourself with the organization while simultaneously demonstrating that you took the time to study them.

Be careful when asking questions that may show that you do not know much about the company.  For example, asking “Who are your competitors?” can be risky in that it sounds like you didn’t take the time to find this information out for yourself. If you couldn’t find this information in your five-minute Google search, tell them. “I Googled your company, but was having a tough time identifying your competitors. Who is your top competitor?” Leverage your knowledge and prove your interest. This will help you set a strong foundation with the company and the interviewer.

What are your tips for preparing for an interview?

1 Comment

  1. Christopher Dieni on July 11, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Great tips! Thanks Travis.

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