Regardless of where you are in life, a job interview can be a nerve-wracking experience. It is, after all, a great deal of pressure—the impression you make determines whether you will get the job. As a result, you should always arrive prepared. This means doing your homework and reading up on the organization. The following are four things to research before a job interview:
- The mission statement
When interviewing for a position, it is absolutely essential to learn about the company’s purpose and its beliefs. Many businesses share this information in a compact form—the mission statement. So, the first step you should take when preparing for an interview is to determine whether the company has a mission statement. If it does, read the statement, and think seriously about what, exactly, it means. Then, browse the website to see how the organization is carrying out its mission, and how you could continue to help it do so.
- Any recent company changes
The organization’s history is another important topic to study—especially its most recent history. If the company has made major changes in the past several months, it is critical that you know this prior to your interview. This will help you gauge the direction that the company is moving in, and you should again think about how you fit into that shift. Use your interview to emphasize skills that support the current attitude and direction of the business, as this can demonstrate your ability to play a significant role in the company’s new vision.
- The management
It is also essential to learn as much as you can about management. You may be able to determine who your supervisor would be from the job posting. If so, research this individual. Investigate how long he or she has been with the organization, and what some of his or her major accomplishments have been while with the company. This may give you a sense of who your potential supervisor is as a leader, as well as what he or she may be looking for in an employee. You may also wish to research upper management. Who are the executives? Which business leaders do they admire, and what are their areas of professional interest? Do they align with your own?
- The client or customer
Just as important as knowing who your supervisor is is knowing about the other individuals who you will be working for—the clients or customers. Who does the company serve, and what product or service does it offer? Even if this knowledge is not specifically pertinent to the role that you are applying for, it is important to show your interviewer that you care enough to learn about the business and what it does. Whatever position you might fill, you will be part of the organization, and it is essential that you know what it does.
These are just a few of the key topics to research before a job interview, so do not stop with these four. Most companies have a plethora of information available online, and you should do your best to learn everything you can about the organization before your interview. Your knowledge can help the interview proceed more smoothly, and it may just make you stand out from the crowd.
Catherine Martin is a contributing writer for UniversityTutor.com, the world’s largest global marketplace for finding independent tutors.