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Researching Companies before Job Interviews

1 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Preparing for a Job Interview

Information is everything — and everywhere. Many job seekers have become nonchalant about researching a company before a job interview. An indifferent attitude toward pre-interview research may not devalue your candidacy during a screening interview (especially when a recruiter makes the initial contact), but it will badly bite you at an in-person selection interview.

Here’s why you need to research a company before you interview with them:

  • You’ll have the facts to demonstrate a convincing fit between your qualifications and the job’s requirements.

  • You can give brilliant answers when asked, “What do you know about our company?”

  • You’re better prepared to absorb and evaluate new facts the interviewer adds during the interview.

Getting a ton of free information on most public — and some private — companies is as fast and as easy as “click here.” In just an hour or two, you can lay your eyes on:

  • Annual reports

  • Financial data

  • News releases

  • Information about products and services

  • Industry trends

  • Competitor information

You may also be able to find out about:

  • Employee views on a company

  • Pending mergers and acquisitions

  • Pending layoffs

  • Shifts in management personnel

  • Corporate culture

  • Wall Street’s outlook for the company

If you discover that the company you're researching is dealing with financial or legal problems or dumping employees, take a pass on the interview. But when you discover no impending corporate collapse or toxic bosses running the show, and you want the job, research is a tiebreaker in a tight race with another candidate.

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