You finally got that phone call; you know the one that is more elusive than a smiling DMV clerk? You have been invited to interview for your dream job. Your suit is back from the cleaners, your resume is polished to a shine, and you just invested $100 on a good haircut.
You are all set, right? Nope. Between now and the interview, you have some important work to do.
Don't stress. The following are 5 easy research tips that will put you ahead of the others, even before the race begins.
1) Visit the company's website. This seems obvious, but it is a step that gets missed quite often. The website will not only give you basic information about the company, but it will usually state their mission, vision statement, and values. Take a close look at these important culture statements, look at your experience, and make notes on how you can help them achieve those goals. In addition, prepare some examples to highlight your achievements in these areas. When you go to your interview, you will be armed with some great “plugs” to work into the conversation.
2) Read any available press releases. The more information you have about the company's history, successes, and key-players, the more prepared you are for your interview. Press releases are usually available on the company’s website, or can be found with a simple internet search.
3) Call the receptionist/security guard. Find out who the “gatekeeper” is - - the first person you see when you come in for your interview (more about "gatekeepers" in my next article). This is usually easily accomplished by calling the company's main number. The person that answers the phone is usually the person who greets visitors and guests. If you get a recording hit "0" for the operator. Once you find the right person, introduce yourself and tell them you are looking forward to meeting them. Ask them if there is anything you need to know about local construction that might cause you trouble, or parking concerns. This serves two purposes. You will know if you have to provide for extra time when traveling to your interview, and you will score points with the "gatekeeper".
4) Take a practice drive. If possible, do your practice drive at the same time of day as your interview. That way you will know exactly where you are going, and how much time to allow for traffic.
5) Conduct a search at http://www.indeed.com/forum
. If you are lucky, you can find out from other job seekers what the interview is like, what questions to expect, and what the background check entails. Current and former employees also post about pay, benefits, and culture. It is important to remember that disgruntled employees also post on these forums, so take negative comments with a grain of salt.
Once you have finished your research, put together 3-5 questions. Use these questions to really show the interviewer that you have taken the time to learn about their company (these questions should be asked at the end of your interview). For example: I noticed that in 2008 you won an award for your quality initiatives. That must have been a major win, since quality is such an important part of your culture. Could you tell me a little bit about those initiatives?