Often, the first job interview question is “Tell me about yourself”, but what if the first question is “Tell me what you know about our company.” If you haven’t done your research and you’re unable to answer this question, the interview could end quickly.
Rather than waiting to do research before an interview, do it early as part of your targeted job search so you’re learning as much as you can about the company before applying, then you’re ahead of the game when asked about the company during the interview. Most information can be obtained from company websites, social media accounts, YouTube, Google News, and of course, LinkedIn.
Things to research so you’re armed with the right information:
Mission, vision, culture and values: This part of your research helps you determine if the company will be a good fit for you.
Products, Services, Clients: What products does the company offer and what clients do they serve? If you’re going to be working there you want to understand what they do and how you will be part of that.
Competitors: Who are their competitors and what is the current data on their competitors? Knowing who they compete against helps you have a broader understanding of the industry.
Financials: Find out what you can about where the company currently stands financially and their financial history. Employees help companies make money, save money and solve their problems, so regardless of your role in the company, you will have an impact.
Who’s Who: Identify key players in the company – leadership / organizational structure. Find out who the key players are on the team you will be part of, and who will be interviewing you. Learn about their experience, education, interests, and your commonalities and mutual connections.
Office Locations: Where are they headquartered and do they have offices in various cities in the country and/or abroad?
Community Involvement: How are they involved in their local community, what causes do they support, and are those causes aligned with your values?
Current Events: Get up to date on the current the buzz about the company on a local and national level. What articles can you find in industry publications about the company and the current market?
Part of a targeted job search is doing a ton of research. Being armed with as much information as possible is key in helping you determine which companies you want to target and preparing you for the interview so you can confidently answer, “Tell me what you know about our company.”
Betsy Sheets is a Career Coach in Southern California where she has a private practice. She helps people gain clarity with what career they want to pursue and gain confidence in their job search. She is also a co-founder of a non-profit veteran service organization where she and other career coaches and human resources professionals volunteer helping senior level service members and spouses transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce.