When preparing for an interview, it is absolutely essential to make sure you do a lot of research into the company that could, potentially, be your new employer. However, many people tend to only focus on the following:
- The services and products the company provides
- The financial performance of the company
- The customers of the company
Whilst researching these different areas is essential and will impress your interviewers; if you want to really impress them and gain a better chance of success, you must also put a lot of effort into researching the people who actually work at the company.
To Hire or Not to Hire?
When employers make the decision to hire someone, it is down to a number of reasons and one such reason is because they believe that the candidate is going to be a good fit in the organisation. This is why candidates who already know someone at the organisation they’re interviewing for are at an advantage because they already have an idea of the type of person the company is looking for and so can use this knowledge in their interview.
For instance, if in your interview you are asked the question, “Why do you want to work here?” you could answer, “I know John in sales very well. We often go and watch football games together and he tells me how much he likes his job here at your company and often says that I would enjoy working here.”
Throwing an employee name into your answers adds weight to your response and gives the interviewer a lot more confidence in your keenness and ability to fit the role they’re interviewing for.
You should also be able to make the most of any insider knowledge you might have picked up from your contact. For instance, in addition to the above answer, you might also add, “I know you’re looking for someone with <INSERT RELEVANT SKILL e.g. business development skills> and I have a lot of experience generating leads and am really good at building relationships.” This kind of knowledge and understanding of their requirements may just tip the scales in your favour over other worthy candidates.
Additional Employee Research
There will be times when you’re not lucky enough to know anyone working within the company, so in that case you must make sure that you know the names of the people who will be interviewing you. Once you have their names, you can do a lot of research into them and find out if you share any particular interests or hobbies and then drop the topics subtlety (but relevantly) into conversation when you’re being interviewed.
Use the following channels to find out more about the hiring managers and employees at the company:
Write down any information that could come in handy and capture any elements that you have in common with those you manage to identify. You can then use all of these commonalities in your interview answers.
It is a well-known fact that people prefer to work with others who they have something in common with, but remember that this goes both ways. Just as the company has to be happy with how you’ll fit into their organisation, you’ve also got to be happy working with these people, so researching them in this manner not only gives you an advantage in your interview but it also helps you to feel more confident and happy about your (hopefully) new place of work.