Almost every career-seeker blog will advise you to research a company before your interview. But what exactly should you research to stand out, and how?
Research aspects of the company, department, boss and position that will enable you to match yourself as an irrefutable fit. Don’t leave them wondering if they connected the dots. For each key aspect you determine about the company, consider how what you have done or know-how to do will help them. Be as precise and detailed as you can. The best way to create a match is to document the points and bring them with you as a written document to the interview. Employers will appreciate hearing you walk through these points verbally as you answer their interview questions.
- Google: read articles/info about what they do, news items about recent developments
- Company Website/Blog: study mission statement, company info, a blog if they have one
- LinkedIn: learn about company culture, biz style, notable leaders in organization
- Facebook/Twitter: company culture, consumer engagement, “voice”
Example: a candidate is applying for a marketing position with a cosmetics company. The job description reads:
Your internet research findings:
- 1200 employees nationwide
- Product: salon-quality cosmetics to consumers
- Mission: “We believe everyone has a right to feel great about themselves without a big cost.”
- LinkedIn photos and the company blog: employees look business casual.
- News: company has recently begun making personal products for men as well as women.
Connect the dots: Make the Match!
In the interview, the candidate is able to make concrete connections between the company’s business needs and wants, and their matching contribution. Create 2-3 success stories as a way to put the matching points into action. Stories are easier to remember, so when time has passed, you will be the person they remember the best. Make the match – connect the dots.