Succeeding at a job interview is about convincing the recruiter that you are the best possible match, both for the role and the company. In order to be able to do that though, you need to do some job interview preparation. There are a number of things that you need to have an in-depth understanding of and that you will need to research in advance.
Job Interview Preparation, Research Topic 1 – The position – Presumably you wouldn’t have applied for the job in the first place if you didn’t properly understand what it entailed, but be sure to revisit the job advertisement and get hold of a copy of the job description (if you haven’t already done so) before you attend your interview. Both of these will give you tremendous clues as to the skills and qualities that the recruiter is seeking, not to mention giving you a steer in terms of the organization’s culture, priorities and pain points.
Job Interview Preparation, Research Topic 2 – The company – Even if you are not asked directly what you know about the company that you are applying to, demonstrating your knowledge of the organization will show the recruiter that you are sufficiently enthusiastic and committed to have done your homework. More than this though, if you properly understand where the company has come from, where it is now and where it is going, you will find it far easier to present yourself as someone who can provide relevant solutions to their concerns and issues. Here are some of the areas that you need to research:
- The company’s background and history
- Its offerings – what type of goods or services does the organization supply?
- The organizational structure and business ownership
- What differentiates the company from its competitors
- Where the business is located
- How many people it employs
- The organization’s financial status
- The company culture
- The business’ strategic plans – what are its shorter and longer term objectives?
- What the company values
- The challenges that the business is currently facing
Check the company website, social network pages, online employee reviews, online and published news reports and press releases, articles, trade journals, magazines, periodicals and the company’s annual report, as well as using your network of contacts to really dig deep.
Job Interview Preparation, Research Topic 3 – The industry – The company that you are interviewing with doesn’t operate in a vacuum, so find out what’s happening within the industry as a whole. What are the current trends and what are the greatest challenges, threats and opportunities within the industry?
Job Interview Preparation, Research Topic 4 – The interviewer – Few interviewees think to check out the person who is going to be interviewing them, but in fact knowing something about the interviewer’s background, their achievements within the company and any special areas of interest that they might have will give you clues as to how you can best relate to them and how best to create a rapport. Often a quick Google search can provide lots of interesting insights about a person. Also have a look at any social network profiles which are available.
Job Interview Preparation, Research Topic 5 – Yourself – It’s actually quite surprising how many job candidates turn up for interviews without being absolutely sure in their minds as to what they have to offer and how their offering can benefit the recruiter. Study your resume and prepare yourself by making direct links between your skills, talents, experience and personal qualities and the tasks and responsibilities of the role and the recruiter’s concerns.
Job Interview Preparation, Research Topic 6 – Common interview questions – Although it’s far more useful to study the recruiter’s published requirements to work out which areas the interview questions are likely to focus on, it can also be helpful to research some of the most commonly-used interview questions to give you an idea in terms of how the interviewer’s enquiries might be presented.
Job Interview Preparation, Research Topic 7 – Salary ranges – Although salaries and benefits are things that you should never raise at the first interview stage and that you should avoid discussing until after you have received a firm job offer if at all possible, if the recruiter pushes you to find out your current or expected earnings, the easiest way to avoid talking specifics is to limit the conversation to the general salary range for a similar position in the same geographical area. Various websites provide salary ranges for particular types of job by region, so always be sure to get a feel for what’s reasonable so that you are prepared if the subject does come up.