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5 Things You Should Know About a Company Before the Interview

November 4, 2013

What they do! – This may sound obvious but a lot of people go to interviews unprepared. Knowing what the position you’re applying for is important but so is what the company does. If you’re a finance consultant applying for a finance role at a computer cloud company you should know what that means! While you think it may not affect you day to day there would be no position without that service. You don’t need to understand every detail or become an overnight expert but a basic understanding is important.

Who are the major players- After you read the ‘Services’ page on the website scroll over to the “About us” tab. Learn about the company’s president, the department head for the department you are looking to join and if they provide you with the name of your interviewer try to look up information about them as well. Think more LinkedIn then Facebook. Knowing that the President has written 3 books on finance could be a great conversation point but, knowing that the president likes strawberry yogurt is irrelevant and possibly creepy.

Where they come from- How was the company founded? Did it start as a mom and pop organization that still maintains a close-knit family-like culture? Is the company a tech company created by 2 college buddies that sky rocketed to success? Knowing the companies origins can help you get a feel for the environment and what their purpose might be. Knowing these things will help you steer your conversation. If it has been a family business for 30 years and is finally expanding you may want to avoid going on and on about the power of large corporations and how you believe they will eventually make the market unbearable for Mom and Pop businesses. This is also helpful in giving insight about how you may fit into the company and if it’s a place you really want to work.

Where they are going- Look for recent news articles. Have they recently had a change in leadership? Are they looking to acquire more operating land? What is the employee turnover rate? Has there been an increase in positions? Any public events or press releases? This information may not all be on the company website so look in different sources. This is important because once again it can be used to show you did your research. It also shows you whether there is room for you to grow in the company, which for most job seekers is a major selling point.

What and who make up the company- Most companies have a list of values or a mission statement. Find it, learn it and see if you agree. When you respond to questions with personal examples of the traits listed in the mission statement during interviewer you show that you would fit into the company’s culture. An exert from the Coca-Cola Company mission statement “To create value and make a difference.” Pretend you are applying for a job with this company and they asked “Why do you want to work with our company” a good response may be, “Your company’s mission statement really stood out to me. I’ve always believed in the power of value at the end of the day, it’s more important than price to most people. I want to be a part of this organization because it’s mission isn’t, ‘make money at the lowest expense to us,’ but because you want to succeed and make a difference based on a good product.”

Also what type of employees do they typically hire? Is it a diverse group? Does one person make most of the hiring decisions and if so do they only hire like-minded people? What traits do you have that will help you ease into the environment? What perspective is missing from the organization that you can provide?

Coca-Cola Mission Statement From www.-coca-colacompany.com

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