“ALWAYS do research on the company you are interviewing with.”
You’ve probably heard this phrase a million times from your co-op advisor, peers and maybe even your mom. “Just look at the company’s website and check out their social media pages”, they say. Sounds simple, right? But in the digital age there is often an overabundance of company information and marketing online, and as a busy student you don’t have the time to look through every single tweet and press release ever published by a potential employer. Luckily, you don’t have to: here are some pointers on how to sharpen your focus and know exactly what to look for when doing research on a company.
Basic Company Information
If you don’t have time to look up anything else, please make sure that you are – at the very least – familiar with who the company is and what they do. What industry are they in? What products or services do they offer? What locations do they have internationally (if any)? What is their value proposition? All of this information should be readily available on the company website. It is common practice for an interviewer to ask you to tell them what you know about the company, so ensure that you have a strong answer prepared.
Recent News Stories
Most businesses today are using social media to connect and share their stories. Checking out the company’s Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn page can be a great way to learn about things like their recent charity initiatives or a new product launch. You can use this information to shape some of the questions that you will be asking the interviewer. For example, if the company has recently announced the opening of a new location, you could ask: “I heard that Company X opened a new office in France. How will this affect the projects that your department is working on?”
While this may not necessarily be useful to bring up in your interview, finding out the inside scoop on the company culture can be a great way to determine if working there would be a good fit for you. Some companies keep employee-updated blogs that recap internal events and retreats. Websites such as glassdoor.com are a useful resource to get a transparent look at typically ‘secret’ information such as salaries, common interview questions, and overall employee feedback and satisfaction. Personal connections are another excellent way to learn more about life within the company. If you don’t directly know anyone that works there, perhaps one of your friends does – it never hurts to reach out to your social network! If you do find that a friend of a friend is working at your target company, just ask for a quick introduction and send them a short message along the lines of: Hi, I am looking to apply for a position with Company X and want to learn more about the company culture and what is it like working there. Would you be open to answering a couple of questions and sharing some of your experiences with me?
Take some time a few days before your interview to review this information – it will ensure that you feel prepared and confident going into your interview. Still nervous? Schedule a mock interview with your co-op advisor to put your newfound company knowledge to the test