Most job candidates overlook proper interview preparation. People think it’s enough to have answers about themselves nailed down and don’t dig in to knowing about the person and company on the other side of the room. Often, this is the difference between having an ace interview and being absolutely forgettable.
Recognizing a company’s culture is an easy way to find out what matters in an interview. Look at the company website and find their mission statement. Discover what they value by reading their blog or social media posts. Find out what their employees think – Twitter is a great source for checking in on what employees talk about personally and what they care about professionally. Knowing the company’s culture doesn’t just help you ace the interview, but also let’s you in whether or not it’s the place for you.
Learn about the C-level leaders of a company. If it’s a subdivision of a large corporation, know a bit about the chain of command and the key people involved. If it’s a small company or a startup, you never know when the CEO might be the one interviewing you or drop in for a quick hello. Some companies will expect you to already have a grasp of this information if they have a focus on their people culture. When they reference these VIPs in conversation, knowing the team and roles involved will let you show how ready you are to be a part of it all.
Your would-be manager
Always find out about your potential manager: who are they and what makes them tick? It’s a huge advantage while interviewing but also a great way for you to find out if this is the job you want. A glance at LinkedIn employee titles or the job description can give you some clues to who this might be. If you’re in touch with a recruiter, there’s no reason not to ask! If there’s no clear path to this information, use LinkedIn to find the person with a title the next step up from the position you’re applying to. For example, email marketing assistants should look for email marketing managers. Project coordinators should find project managers. Junior or senior engineers should look for engineering team leads. Learn what you can about your would-be manager and use that information to connect with them in your interview.
Your other interviewers
If you’re told you’ll be interviewing with multiple people, do your research on all of them. It will help you relate to each person with relevant topics of discussion. It will also show you’re prepared and took your time to research before the interview. If you’re not sure who your interviewers will be, ask your point of contact at the company beforehand. And don’t forget to send them all thank-you emails within 24 hours of meeting them.
Know the news
Finally, one of the best ways to find topics for the Q&A session of the interview is to stay up-to-date on the news and events surrounding the company, the industry they belong to, and the market as a whole. Start by looking at the company blog or press releases. These are great source to find their latest achievements and product rollouts. Google the company and find news and editorials about them. Finally, read industry news about movers and shakers, potential competitors, and market movement overall. Formulate intelligent questions around this information and use it to truly impress your interviewer on your grasp of their situation.
Having all this knowledge ahead of time will allow you to come off as a well-prepared, top-notch candidate to your interviewer, and will key you in on all the questions and concerns you have about the company that you can ask about before joining.