In my last post I talked about the importance of researching the person conducting the interview. This time its the company I want to focus on.
The first place to start is the company website. Look at all the pages but specifically look at the language they use on the site. What phrases or terms are consistent throughout? These are the internal messages prevalent throughout the company, the buzzwords, the chatter, the noise that permeates all corporations.
List them. Make sure you understand them, if you are unclear use the words as a premise for an interview question. If nothing else, it will evidence to the interviewer the fact that you have done your research and taken an interest in the company.
How you can weave these key words throughout your response to interview questions. Interview success is like success in sales. Know your customer, mirror their language. People feel comfortable talking with people they understand and importantly understand them. Talking the same language triggers a familiarity that will stand you in good stead throughout the process.
Know products, customers, new technologies, innovation, key people, where they have come from and what people are saying about them online. If you have time, why not consider conducting your own market research with a little mystery shopping? Telling for example a Sales Director or Managing Director that you have been to one of their stores and (politely and respectfully) making constructive suggestions as to what you think can be improved will be viewed positively even if they don’t agree with your views. The point is you put yourself out and went that extra mile to try and understand your customer.
Review the news pages of the site. What are they doing that’s making the press? Review blogs, google them, what are people saying about them on Facebook, Twitter? What issues are they facing and how are they addressing them? This can again prove a great basis for interview questions.
Research the industry, not just the company. Who are the major competitors? What are they doing that your prospective employer isn’t? Why (?) might be a great question to be asking at interview. What issues is the industry facing and how is your prospective employer addressing them?
Remember getting the job you really want has the power to fundamentally change your life. This is your sales pitch. Take it seriously and prepare for it.