A lot of people, before attending an interview, will believe that they have done all the planning and preparation they could possibly do, however, in many instances this will, most definitely, not be the case.
Preparation, preparation, preparation is absolutely key.
However, what exactly should this preparation involve? Without doubt all candidates should ensure that they have thoroughly researched the company that they are applying to and this means looking into:
- The company’s financial performance
- The company’s vision and mission statement
- The products and services that are provided
- Details of current and past projects
- Recent awards, recognition or media coverage
- Audience base.
Many candidates will stop once they have completed all of the above research points. However, this is a mistake. In this current work environment, where employers are focusing more on hiring those who are a good fit to the organisation in terms of personality, interests and overall character, instead of focusing on experience and role suitability, it is crucial that candidates are aware of the types of people who work at a company; what their personalities are like and what their interests are.
Therefore, in addition to completing the above research, candidates should also be concentrating on finding out more about the following:
The people who are conducting the interview
This is important because knowing personal and professional details about the people asking the questions will give you an advantage when it comes to giving your answers and also in general chit chat. Your interviewers will be much more interested in you if they know that you share their interests, in golf or swimming for example.
Or if you have found out that they used to work in marketing with someone you know, you can subtly show this knowledge and instantly create a connection with your interviewer. Creating this extra interest is important because it means your interviewers will not only remember you, but will do so in a positive light and feel that you’ll definitely fit into the organisation.
You can find out about your interviewers using social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook , Google and Twitter, where all you need to do is search for their names and identify interesting details, which will help you to build up their profiles and find ways to connect with them all.
The employees who already work at the company
If you make sure you find out about the kind of people who the company regularly likes to employ, this can help you identify more personal and professional examples about yourself, which you can then showcase in your interview and show how well suited you are to the company and how well you will fit in with their current employees.
Again, you can use LinkedIn, Google, Twitter and Facebook to research the company’s employees if you are fortunate to know any employee names. If you do not, however, know any other names then you can still do this kind of research on the social networking sites but instead of searching for an individual’s name, search for the company.
Once you have located the company’s profile, you will usually be able to see the profiles of people working at that company, although this will depend on what their privacy settings are. You can also try your hand at ‘spying’ and give sitting in the local café or coffee shop a try to see if you can overhear any conversations about the company, or can gain a good idea of what the employees are like from their conversations.
Take care that you don’t go overboard and invade other people’s privacy but do make sure that you go to all of the above lengths if you can, as this will definitely give you insider knowledge and also the edge over other candidates who have not been as willing to go the extra mile as you have.
Make sure you keep notes of anything you discover throughout this research, as you never know what could help you in your interview. Keep in mind that when managers are looking at hiring candidates they are trying to decide, firstly, if they actually like you and secondly, if they would enjoy working with you.
You therefore have to make a connection and reassure them that you share common traits with them, as well as other employees and that you would most definitely fit in with the company’s mission and vision. If they like you as a person and you have shown that you are eager to do the job, you are well on your way to interview success.
Keep in mind that nowadays it’s not all about experience and skill, although these factors are still important, for more and more companies are now placing their hiring decisions on which candidates are the right fit for the company over these other factors.
So, the next time you apply for a job and are invited to an interview, follow these job interview tips and start researching the company early and above all don’t forget to research the interviewers and the employees too!
photo by: lesleykerr