Interview tips: researching the employer

Emma Alkirwi, Managing Director of the CV Guru offers some advice about how to research a prospective employer before  your interview, so you are ready for any testing the interviewer might do of your knowledge of the organisation.

Most interviewers will ask questions which test a candidate’s knowledge of their organisation. They want to know you have done your research, and that you are genuinely interested in working for them. It is very important to be prepared and do the research. So where should you start?

Their website

Having a good look at their website is a good place to start. However, do not simply lift information and just memorise it. That is not likely to show you understand the company and hence is not very impressive. Have a look at the following:<

    • Look at their corporate social responsibility (CSR) page as this could in an interesting talking point in the interview.
    • Look at recent blogs and company updates and see if there is anything applicable here you can use
    • Find out what other vacancies they are recruiting for within your area and see if there is a trend appearing, such as a restructuring, growth or new customers etc.
    • Look at their management team and any customer information such as testimonials or numbers. Also examine their products or services.

In the press

Is the company, their competitors or their industry being mentioned a lot in the news? This may be something you can use to gain a further understanding of what is going on in the company

Social media

You can find out a lot about the company, tone and personality via their social media and this can assist you during the interview. Look at all their available channels.

You Tube

This is particularly important if you are going for a marketing position so check out their past and present adverts.

Financial information (see Companies House if not publicly available on their website)

This will be very important for those working within the finance industry, but even if you have a different skillset make sure you are aware of things such as Turnover, Operating Profit, Capital Investment and whether there is growth or a reduction and why.

Other things to consider

  • Visit their stores if they are a retail business and try to think why they do in areas such as layout, colour scheme, and atmosphere etc
  • Look into their competition a little and understand who they are
  • If possible speak to someone you know who has worked there

Conducting this research will not only assist you in gaining an in-depth knowledge of the company, it will also allow you to assess if this is the company you can see yourself working for.

Now you have done all the research, you should have a rough idea of why you want to work there so jot down some of the key things, like “potential for career progression”, “fast growing company”, “going through significant change and challenge and I want to be part of it” and “it has a great reputation and I like what I see”. Just be genuine about it and don’t give stock answers!

Good Luck!


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