9 Questions to Start Your Pre-Interview Research Off Right

Posted: 05/08/14 | Category: Interviewing Job Search

Most common interview mistakes are not so hard to overcome. Hiring managers feel some criteria – having appropriate attire, silent cell phones, pre-interview research, etc. – needs to be met bar none yet a recent CareerBuilder survey found that a surprising number of candidates fall short of pretty simple benchmarks.

For example, 39 percent of hiring managers say they have interviewed candidates who were woefully uninformed about the company and position. That in mind, all you have to do is some simple pre-interview job search to beat over one-third of your competition. 

What You Need to Know

Most of the information you need is not on the difficult side; it consists of basic pre-interview research that you can find without even breaking a mental sweat.

Who is Interviewing You? – An easy one to knock out of the park. Through email or phone conversations, verify the full name and title of your interviewer. A mispronunciation can be a minor demerit against you.

What Has Your Interviewer Done? – A quick search on LinkedIn can help you assess your interviewer. Talents. Passions. Achievements. All of these details are important to have locked and loaded. Most importantly, you need to know where both your careers intersect and what professional experiences to emphasize.  

What Does the Company Do? – Going into an interview without foreknowledge of a company is like parachuting into unknown territory without a mission briefing. Leave no stone unturned on the company’s website, LinkedIn profile, and official press releases. The newer the intel, the better.

What is Your Role? – This pre-interview research is more about rote memory. Explore the job advertisement and know at least five major activities that the position will require on a regular basis.

What is the Dress Code? – 53 percent of hiring managers feel one of the most common interview mistakes is that candidates come to the interview underdressed. To sidestep that blunder, no extensive pre-interview research is needed. Just ask the dress code as soon as you get the invitation to interview.

What Skills Matter Most to the Company? – It’s usually in the job requirements. Also, review any other jobs the company has listed online (either on their website or various job boards) to determine skills you possess that can alleviate the group workload.

What Challenges does the Company Face? – Good interviewers demonstrate why the company cannot afford to function without them. They depict themselves as a problem-solving dynamo who are cognizant of internal/external problems and can provide the cure.

Your pre-interview research will pay off most here. If the company has a blog, review it and identify emerging projects. Otherwise, skim various industry publications to immerse yourself in the barriers facing the company and its competition.

What is the Environment Like? – Finding this tidbit in your pre-interview research is a good way to determine whether or not the position is right for you. Websites like Glassdoor can provide you with behind-the-scenes snapshots of office environments. However, you should take this information with a grain of salt – there are always one or two disgruntled folks airing grievances in spite of otherwise satisfied employees. 

What Questions Will You Be Asked? – Answers to this interview question aren’t essential but they can help you to give explosive answers when the time comes. Glassdoor or a Google search can bring you to questions that previous candidates have been asked in your place.

by James Walsh

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