When I was hiring people, my team and I could always tell whether someone had done their homework on the company. If they didn’t do the research, they were out.
No second chances.
In retrospect, it’s regrettable we had to waste an interview on someone who didn’t take the time to learn more about our company. Unfortunately, testing for whether or not you did employer research was not, and is not, a significant part of the employer screening process.
And yet the fact remains:
Researching an employer better than other candidates gives you a huge competitive advantage in an interview!
Here’s are five creative job interview research techniques that will help you gain that advantage… and get you hired.
1. Search for Executive Activity
Look for employer execs and see if they have any LinkedIn media including company videos, slide decks, or other messages included on their profiles that can provide a deeper level of information.
Also, Google executive names and “interview” and see if you can find other media or press interviews that will give you a sense for the organization’s mission and strategy. Bring this intel into the interview conversation, and think about how you can weave it into your stories as you are preparing.
2. Talk to a Customer
Ask them what works well, and what they see as opportunities for improvement. Take notes, and listen for an opportunity to bring this into your interview conversation. Especially helpful to flavor your responses to questions about how you see yourself adding value in the organization.
3. Talk to a Competitor
Ask what they see as their competition’s strengths and weaknesses. As above, look for opportunities to share that (i) you’ve talked to the competition, and (ii) you have a sense for how the employer fares in the market, and (iii) you can talk intelligently about that.
This will make you memorable. It may even blow their minds.
4. Conduct a Transaction with the Organization
If they have a product that’s affordable, buy it and use it.
Call or message the customer care organization and see what kind of response you get. This will tell you a lot about the organization’s culture and practices.
You know what I’m going to say here, use this as commentary; compliment them on excellent work, or, propose ideas on how to improve the customer service, or other, experience
5. Hit the Company Up on Social Media (and See How They Respond)
This will give you an idea for how they deal with constituents, and what their public voice is. It will also tell you about their culture, and how their social media practice compares with their values and principles as an organization.
These research techniques will help ensure you have an engaging conversation during your interview.
On one hand, the organization will get a much better sense for what you offer, based on your feedback and observations from these research experiences.
And on the other hand, YOU will have a much better idea if that organization is for you.
Research not only helps the employer pick you, it helps you pick the right employer.That’s an important part of the interview process we don’t talk enough about! Try one of these unique research methods on a target employer. Let me know what you find out, and how it shifts your readiness and confidence, for the interview.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friend, Lea McLeod!
About the Author: Lea McLeod is author of the Resume Coloring Book. Check it out if you are struggling with writing your resume in today’s job market. She’s also founder of the Job Success Lab so that you can GO PRO in any job! Follow her onTwitter and her blog: DegreesofTransition.com.