Job interview tips: Research to do before the interview

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Congratulations! You’ve secured an interview. Now what?

If your CV is the foot in the door, then your interview is the force that either pushes the door wide open, or sadly closes the door to an opportunity. 

So, what can you do to encourage the open door? PREPARE! You need to approach each and every interview fully prepared – and the first step in the preparation process is to do your research.

Conducting proper research is the equivalent of obtaining a blueprint of the company. You need to understand the company’s foundations, their values and visions, their current and future plans. You should understand their business model, the sort of roles and positions within the company, and the types of industries/clients that they do business with.

We suggest conducting research on the following four areas, before your interview:

1. RESEARCH THE COMPANY

Show your commitment to this new career opportunity, by finding out as much as possible about the company that is interviewing you.

Visit the company website and their LinkedIn page. It’s imperative that you have a good understanding about the company, as this shows you have a real interest in your possible future employer.

  • What sector/industry does this company fall under?
  • What products or services do they offer?
  • Which industries/sectors do their clients/customers fall under?
  • How large is the company?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their National footprint?
  • What is their latest news? (Visit their LinkedIn Page, google relevant articles or blog posts)
  • Who are the key players/key stakeholders within the company? Who could potentially be your Direct Line Managers?

KEY TIP: Whilst conducting your research into the company, revert back to your own experience and skill set – how do these translate and transfer? What expertise can you bring forth? How will you add value?

What research should I do, if my first interview is with a Recruitment Agency?

If you’ve applied for a position via a Recruitment Agency, then your first interview will be with the Recruitment Consultant who is working the position.

At this stage, you won’t necessarily be able to do your research into the hiring company (i.e. the Agency’s client). Whilst it can seem daunting approaching an interview without prior knowledge of the hiring company, the Agent will use the interview to provide a run-down on the company and the position itself.

If shortlisted for submission to the hiring company, your Agent will provide you with the necessary details, so you can start conducting research into the hiring company itself.

KEY TIP: You can still prepare for an interview with a Recruitment Agency by ensuring that your CV is up-to-date, and that you’ve included all key information. Familiarise yourself with the contents of your CV, as well as the position details (refer to the advert that you applied to!), and think about how your experience and skill set is applicable to the position requirements and job duties.

2. INTERVIEWERS

  • Do you know who you will be meeting?
  • Do you know their position within the company?

This information should have been provided to you by the Recruitment Agent, or the hiring company themselves. If it hasn’t, then please ask.

It’s important that you know exactly who will be conducting the interview, and what their positions are within the company.

This not only shows a great level of professionalism, but also provides you with a sense of familiarity, as you’re not approaching an interview ‘completely blind’.

3. THE POSITION

Please read through the job description.  

  • Ensure that you understand the job requirements:
    • How do the job duties relate to your previous experience? Prepare examples of your previous experience and achievements, in relation to the position requirements.
    • Prepare yourself for job-related questions that you could be asked – and mentally prepare your responses to these questions.

What interpersonal skills and competencies is the company looking for? As examples; someone who is proactive, someone with excellent interpersonal skills, etc. Prepare examples of times and situations during which you have displayed these skills and abilities.

4. KNOW YOUR CV

Know your CV. This is especially important if a Recruitment Agency has re-formatted your CV using their templates and layout. Request a copy of this CV from your Agent, if they haven’t already sent a copy to you.

Familiarise yourself with:

  • Dates for each of your positions.
  • Reasons for leaving each of your positions.
  • The content itself; duties and responsibilities, education details, personal details.

We hope you have found this information to be insightful and helpful! Keep a look out for our next blog post which will focus on how to utilise your research during the interview process and how to create a great first impression!  

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