You do all the hardwork from drafting a good CV, cover-letter to balancing your time in-between applying for jobs and attending University. Then comes the grand finale with you being invited to the interview or the assessment centre. Everybody around you will tell you a good percentage of being successful at the interview stage is to have done the background research well. But how exactly and what do you have to do to know the company well? Quite often it can be a forgiven thinking that you don’t need to know much about the company, after all you haven’t worked there before? Unfortunately that is not the case. As the saying goes, if you fail to prepare you prepare to fail.
As a graduate and an intern myself, I understand how difficult it is to do the background research on companies and it is very easy to get drifted from one topic or news to another. Now, since I have done OK for myself, I thought it’s good to share with you some good tips on a successful background research for an interview.
Google the company
First and foremost tip, Google the name of the company you will interview for.
Now, the first result will always be the official homepage of the company and you need to go through the website in detail. Read the News or Press Release section. Check if they have a Careers tab and check for any job profile videos or texts. Scrawl the website like a spider.
What is more important than above (yes) is to look at the results post second and third entries on the first page. This is where external news both, good and bad starts coming in. pdf reports and related documents start appearing and this will improve your knowledge about the company. Nothing impresses an interviewer more than speaking about stuff you have learnt from outside the organisation. Sometimes you know something that can raise an eyebrow on the other side of the table or some heads turn, trust me that is when you know, you hit a certain level with the interviewer(s). Although don’t overdo it unless you are interviewing for secret services!
Use Online Graduate Job Resources
Graduates and students often think there is nothing to help them know the details of the interview/assessment or the nitty-gritty stuff of the big day. It is not true. Yes you will not know everything about the day, but you don’t need to know it. What you can know is what are the types of interview questions, or what have been the other candidates experience.
Infact for every part of the application to interview stage I suggest you have a look at Wikijob, a good resource for those who want to do the background research on the companies and their interview techniques/experience.
Another good resource on the bloc at the moment is The Job Crowd. These are real people (maybe nameless) writing about their position and what exactly does their role include. This will help you get keywords to use in interview and also a good view of what you might want to base your interview research preparation on.
Apart from these two, you can try The Student Room, though it has not impressed me a 100%.
Research using Social Newtorks
Yes, when I say social networks it means Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In these three Facebook is my least favourite and least helpful way of doing research as it caters a community with ‘gossip-nature’ and companies that post on facebook usually share entertainment value information.
Twitter is a good resource for finding about the company or keeping in touch with the news, for example you can search in google by writing “twitter (& organisation name)” and you will receive twitter updates if the company is on the network.
LinkedIn is less useful to research about the company but more useful to get some background on the job. You can search for Condition Monitoring and see what the job role involves across different organisation and again this will help you with concrete information during interview.
Tried Apture – be smart!
Apture is an unorthodox way of doing a research for an interview or assessment. Infact it is not a method it is a tool. What apture does is, you can highlight a word or phrase and a pop up box will come up showing you internet information about the word or phrase. it’s a simple online installation for Chrome users. Try it. It is also available for other browsers. An example of it –
A very useful tool for search and information. It will help you research on any company or technology (for engineers) without having to move away from the main topic instantly.
Use Career Geek
You can either call this self-marketing or a good act. What Career Geek blog is trying to do is speak to graduates and students doing the job in providing helpful tips about the job interview process, applications or other information that can help you. At the time of writing we have information about finding graduate job with KPMG, job with Nationwide as a banking analyst, or an entry level job with Law Firm and more information about other jobs will be flowing in. You can also use other information available by using the search box on the Home page.
These are some of the basic tips about doing a background research on company before an interview or assessment. Hope it helps you in preparing for your interview or assessment.