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Tips for Doing Your Job Interview Homework

Interview preparation can be daunting, but it is an important prerequisite for any job interview. Proper company research can not only help a candidate stand out in the job interview, it also gives the candidate a better idea of whether or not he/she might like to work for the company. However, brushing up on the latest news in the industry can be equally important (and yet spending too much time on the process can eat into other job search activities). Here are some tips for balancing these concerns prior to a job interview, and for doing some top-notch interview preparation.

Candidates are likely least familiar with company-specific information, so a good portion of interview preparation should be spent on company research. Visit the company website and take a good look at the company’s mission statement; try to get a good feel for the company’s business priorities. Also consider checking out the company’s social media outlets. Think of the company website like the company resume. It’s still smart to see what a company does in a more casual medium though (just like any savvy hiring manager would do for a candidate). Social media can also give candidates a great idea of what is happening right now at the company. If the company just hit a safety milestone, or a sales goal, that is more likely to be on Twitter than on the company website.

For further interview preparation, be sure to look for industry news that involves the company. As candidates move from company research to industry research, check out the places where they intersect. Many companies will have “press” or “news” sections on their website— and definitely look that over— but cast a wider net by looking to other news sources in the industry as well.

For industry research, look for articles pointing out challenges and triumphs of different groups in the industry. These things are likely to be on the interviewer’s mind and mentioning a challenge can be a savvy way for a candidate to show his/her knowledge of the industry. As seen previously on Spark Hire, researching a company’s competitors is also a great choice before a job interview. Be tactful in bringing up the competition, but simply being aware can aid in understanding an interviewer’s business goals.

How long do you spend with interview preparation? According to a LinkedIn survey, 50 percent of job seekers spend one or more hours preparing for a job interview, but only 25 percent spend more than two hours. Is this too much? Leave a comment below, or send me a tweet: @ithinkther4iamb #companyresearch

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Sterlic

Written by

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.

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