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Doing Your Homework: What to Research Before an Interview

So you’ve practiced how you will answer all of the behavioral questions that come your way, but it’s also equally imperative to convey that you understand both the company itself and the role you are applying for. In order to properly prepare for an interview, it is important to conduct background research to guide your discussion.

Here are a few topics to help kick-start your search:

  1. Current events. Current events are important in general, but you especially want to look on the company website for any recent announcements regarding current or future endeavors. Your interviewer will want to know that you are keeping up with the company.

  2. The interviewer. Search LinkedIn to learn more about your interviewer. This may help you feel more comfortable walking before the interview, and can help guide any small talk.

  3. Industry trends. You will want to make note of any current trends or events happening in your market of focus. Sometimes interviewers will ask you what you think of current events. Even if this is not brought up in the form of a question, your interviewer will be impressed if you are able to relate general industry knowledge to the role you are interviewing for.

  4. Organizational structure. Some companies make their organizational chart available for public viewing. If this is the case, be sure to gain an understanding of how your role fits into the company as a whole and who you will be reporting to.

  5. Mandatory skills. Read carefully through the job description for any skills that are required of job applicants. Additionally, be sure to research skills required in similar positions to make sure that you are aware of what is expected and that you are able to articulate your capabilities. If you are missing any of the required skills, you may also use this as a learning opportunity.

  6. Salary. Look to sites such as Glassdoor to gauge the current salary offered to someone at your level/position. While it is rare that the salary question is initiated in the first interview, you should be prepared should your interviewer probe you on it. Never bring this up yourself, however!

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