Every job interview is a little different, but at the same time, many involve a standard battery of questions such as “why do you want the job?” and “what do you know about our company?” Still, just because they’re standard questions doesn’t mean you should brush them off or avoid taking them seriously.
The “what do you know about our company” question is an important one in many respects. It helps the employer get a sense of your level of interest and commitment to the job, as well as helping her gauge how much training you might need when you start. Thus, you should take some time to prepare for this question with a few key steps.
Research, research, research
A sure way to blow a job interview is to appear uninterested in the company or its brands. Even if the company deals in something you believe to be mundane or downright boring, the people who work there likely take their work very seriously. You’ll show a real lack of respect by not even bothering to research the company’s products, history, marketing campaigns and the like. Start by poring over the company website, as well as its social media profiles, if it has any. Search for employees who work there -- or have worked there -- on LinkedIn to get a sense of the types of people the company hires and their backgrounds. Also, do some online searches to find any write-ups about the company in business newspapers or trade journals, or on association websites. If you’re attending a career fair, check the list of companies attending and do some research on the ones you’re interested in meeting with.
Take note of its successes
Through that research, you’ll probably find out about awards the company’s won or perhaps recognition received by its leaders. Perhaps you’ll find out that the company has recently been listed on the stock exchange or that it’s revamped its product line or branding. Mentioning these types of details during your interview will definitely win you points during the interview -- proving that you’ve done your homework.
Look for things you could improve
If you really want to impress during that interview, don’t stop at simply mentioning details you’ve found out about the company’s products, services or progress; also come to the interview table with some ideas of how you could add value to what the company is already doing. If you’re interviewing for a marketing job, for example, come with a few fresh ideas for promoting one of the company’s new products. If you’re in product development, bring a few ideas of products that could work well with the company’s brands. Naturally, you’ll to be careful when doing this. After all, you don’t want to appear critical of what the company is already doing, but at the same time, you want to show that you could bring something unique and valuable.
Write it down and rehearse
Don’t just go off the cuff -- make some notes of what you’ve learned and what you’d recommend for improvement. It can be difficult to keep your thoughts organized in the midst of a nerve-wracking job interview, so bring along a small notebook with your ideas. Of course, review and rehearse the notes ahead of the interview too -- just in case you’re not allowed to bring in the notebook.
Job interviews are never easy -- but the more you prepare and research, the better off you’ll be.