There are two main things that employers are looking for in a job interview: if you are a good fit for the role based on your qualifications and if you are a good fit for the company culture. Frankly, your resume or application validated your qualifications if you have a scheduled interview. Your challenge now is to convince the interviewer(s) that you are the best candidate to join the company.
You have likely seen or heard the phrase "company culture" several times, and here's why. Employers are looking to market the company to candidates. In fact, several industries have companies fighting for the best talent (that's you) and market themselves using their "company culture." Company culture is summarized as the environment, values, and benefits that a business to advertise to encourage candidates to apply.
Assuming you targeted your resume for this job, it's time to target your answers for this company's culture. This is where preparing for your interview (rather than "winging it") comes in handy. And again, this is why it's so important to do a little research before an interview.
So what should you research before a job interview?
What The Company Values
Take a look at the company's website and spend a little time reading the About Us, Mission, or Values page. You should be able to identify what the company values.
- What skills and experience do they consider valuable?
- What type of employee are they looking to attract?
- What causes are they passionate about influencing?
These details are important when asked what you know about the company during the interview. If you are interviewing at an outdoor sports warehouse, saying that you know the company sells outdoor sports equipment will make less of an impact that acknowledging that the company highly values adventure and recreation.
Company News & Recent Events
While you are on the company's website, visit their News or Events page to learn about important milestones for the company. It shows genuine interest and engagement when you can comment on the company's anniversary or upcoming special event. Asking questions about how you would participate or play a role in upcoming events if hired would also show more initiative than the candidates who don't.
What It's Like To Work At The Company
Doing a little research to find out what it's like to work at the company will also be beneficial. You can look for the company's Facebook page or Instagram account to see behind-the-scenes photos and get a feel for the work environment.
LinkedIn is a great networking tool that can help you learn more about working for a company before your interview. You can use the Advanced Search tool to find employees, send Personalized Invites, and ask for their honest assessment of working for the company. Let him or her know that you have an upcoming interview too. It may get back to the interviewer and further show your efforts and genuine interest in the company.
What Is New In This Industry
If this is a new industry for you or a technical industry, you should do a little research into the industry in general. What's new for the industry? What's trending? With changing technology and markets, it's important to show employers that you are invested in learning and adapting. Having some insight to share or even commenting on relevant industry news will keep you fresh in an interviewer's mind.
Who Your Interviewer Is
Lastly, find out who our interviewer is. Use LinkedIn to learn more about what that person values, what causes that person cares about, and how they identify their role within the company. Reviewing his or her public profile information will help you tailor your answers toward the aspects of the job that are important to the interviewer.
Be careful how you go about this. You don't want to come off like a stalker. Send him or her a Personalized Invite on LinkedIn, introduce yourself, and express your excitement for the upcoming interview. You can also use this connection to request feedback after the interview and encourage a response.