The Dog Ate My Homework…
How many excuses did you come up with during your school days about why you didn’t finish the homework assignment? I’ve had my fair share. I found, though, that without doing the homework, I was never quite as well prepared for the exam.
Homework is a way to prepare and practice for the exam. It usually isn’t just given as busy work, but rather a way to build skill and knowledge.
Research Before Interviewing
Just like preparing for your test, there are specific ways to prepare for your interview. One important way is to research the company for which you are applying.
Now, simply looking at the “about” section on the company’s website doesn’t cut it. There’s no SparkNotes allowed for company research. You need to put on your investigative hat along with your critically thinking jacket and get ready to dive in to a deep assessment.
Specific Research Topics
Start by going through the company website. Become familiar with their mission statement and how they are portraying themselves to the public. Look at each tab and link on the website and read between the lines. This means that you need to take what is being written on the website and ask yourself what questions aren’t being answered.
For example, if you’re applying for a position in the oil and gas industry and the website says nothing about how the company is fairing in the current economy, make a note and make that one of your questions to the potential employer in your interview.
When you pinpoint these questions, it not only shows the interviewer that you’re interested in the company, but that you pay attention to trends and are current on industry news. Your search should yield 10-15 thoughtful questions to ask your potential employer.
What’s the Hap?
The research you do should also extend further than the company’s own website. The company can control what is being said when they are in control of the website. Look to other sources to get other opinions about the company.
See if the company has a Facebook and skim over the comments – the company can also control what is being shown on their feed, but it is a good place to start. Look for the company in any recent news stories, or see if there are any company reviews by doing a simple internet search.
When it is time for the interview, you want to know more about the company than the interviewer knows. Your goal should be to come off as the overachiever. If you have someone interviewing you who is trying to stump you with their questions, your goal should be the same. Stump them with your in-depth research and thoughtful questions.