You’ve prepared your elevator pitch, you’ve selected the perfect outfit, head-to-toe, and you’ve even thought about what to say if you’re asked the dreaded salary question. But have you done your homework on the company? This is a glaring mistake many job seekers make—forgetting to think about common, company-specific questions like, “Why do you want to work here?” or even “What do you know about the company?” The hiring manager knows you’re qualified—that’s why she’s invited you into the hot seat!—but now she wants to know that you’ll be be passionate about your work and that of your potential peers. Don’t worry, here’s how to research a company before an interview. Do your due diligence on these three areas, and you’ll be golden:
The company culture, mission, and values
Most sites have an "about" page or something similar, which is helpful for learning why the company was founded, how they define what they do, and the mission or values of the organization. The careers page is also useful for learning about company culture. And of course, check up on the company’s social media—it’s a quick way to figure out their POV on business news and current events in general.
Key team members
Before your interview, make sure you’ve memorized the names of the founders and/or CEO, and have familiarized yourself with the leadership team, either through the company website or a little extra sleuthing on LinkedIn. Just remember that this info can mostly be left in your back pocket. It just ensures that if “Monica” is referenced, you know that means the CFO. No need to tell the interviewer that you have a cat named Murphy just like she does. You want to be prepared…not creepy.
Recent company news
Read the "press" page, and if you have a few days before going in, set up Google Alerts so that company updates come to you. When I interviewed at my current company, I knew to congratulate them on being named number six on Crain’s “Best Places to Work in NYC.” Needless to say, the hiring manager was impressed!
…and that’s it! Now take a deep breath, and get ready to ace your interview.
Elana Lyn is a career advice and lifestyle blog with more than 50,000 views per month that covers everything from how to ask for a raise to the best workout classes to take in NYC. Almost 100 women from a wide range of industries have been interviewed in the Career Profile series. The blog has been featured in TIME, Fast Company, Business Insider, Mashable, Refinery 29, The Huffington Post, Brit + Co., Alley Watch, Ivanka Trump, and more.