This article was written by Kate Beckman for RippleMatch. Sign up for RippleMatch to automate your job or internship search. Once you complete a free profile, RippleMatch surfaces great job opportunities and matches you directly with recruiters that want to talk with you.
Don’t go in unprepared.
Congrats – your application and cover letter stood out enough to get you the interview. On top of preparing the answers to these common interview questions and figuring out an outfit, it’s important to do your due diligence on the company you’re hoping gives you an offer. While you can’t predict every question that will come your way, there are some key things you should know about a company before interviewing with them. Not only will this inform your answers and help you ask more intelligent questions, it can reduce the chance that you’ll be blindsided if the interviewer asks you about their mission statement.
Know What the Company Does, and What Your Role Does for the Company
It sounds obvious, but you should have a pretty good grasp on the company’s core product or service. If it’s a huge company with a ton of different products, like Alphabet, then at least know exactly what your potential department does or produces. Additionally, you should know what you would be doing according to the posted job description. Asking about additional responsibilities or how your role fits into the company hierarchy, given what you already know, can be a good way to show you’ve done your research.
Know the Company’s Core Values and Mission Statement
When researching a company, you should know more about them than just what they do. Find their About Page or scour their LinkedIn to find their mission statement or core values. While you don’t need to memorize their mission statement word for word, getting a sense for the overarching goals of an organization beyond their day-to-day is important context for an interview.
Research Current Clients or Partners
Do your research on who the company does business with. If they’re a sales organization or a software company, who are some of their biggest customers? If they’re an agency, what are some of their most successful campaigns? If you have access to any case studies or materials regarding big-deal clients or partners, memorize some key points you can call up during an interview if need be.
Know the Company Size
It’s important to know if the role you’re interviewing for is part of a 5,000-person company or a 20-person startup. You should have questions prepared for your interviewer, but asking something like, “How big is this company?” shows you haven’t done your research. You don’t need to know the exact number, but many companies will list a general size on their LinkedIn page or other company profile sites – like RippleMatch’s Discover Companies page. A better question to ask that you likely wouldn’t find on a general company page is, “How big is the team I would be working on?”
Be Aware of Industry and Company News
While it’s not direct knowledge about the company, you need to be informed about industry trends before heading into an interview. The company you’re interviewing with is definitely paying attention to major industry changes and news, and you should be too. For example, if you’re asked which piece of news from the past three months will have the biggest impact on their industry – and in turn, their company – you should be able to recall at least one significant change. You don’t need to be an expert, but better that than going into panic mode or worse, making something up.
You should also do a Google News search of the company and know about any recent events like acquisitions, investment, or major changes in leadership. It might not come up in the interview, but being aware of company developments show you know your stuff and can be a good reference point for coming up with questions for your interviewer.
Research Your Interviewer
If you know who is going to be interviewing you beforehand, make sure you check out their LinkedIn or company biography. While it’s not recommended that you bring up random personal facts just to prove you did your research, it’s totally appropriate to mention that you attended the same university, or ask how they moved from their previous job in sales to what they’re doing now.
The last thing you want to do in an interview is blank when your potential employer asks you a question about their company. You can’t prepare for every question, but you can definitely research the who, what, and where of a company before the big day. Interview nerves are hard enough to get over – don’t create additional stress through a lack of preparation.
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