Inform yourself about the company you are applying for before you go to a job interview
Job Seeking January 14, 2021
Many candidates are not aware that an introductory question “What do you know about our company?” is actually trickier than a lot of others that are suspected to be. It is no secret that employers are flattered when candidates are interested in working at their company. However, this is not the only reason why an answer to this question is important for your adequate representation during an interview. Candidates who briefly describe the business of a company as a response to this question, mention an approximate number of employees and countries in which the company operates, and ideally some specificity about the company itself (awards they received, impressions of their users or articles in which the company is mentioned) will make a good impression even before they start talking about themselves and their work experience. Through this answer, a candidate shows the ability to analyse a large amount of information, conciseness in presentation, responsibility in preparation for an interview, and above all, motivation for a specific role and a particular company.
Describe the ideal company you would like to work in
Before you start looking for a job, think about what kind of company would you like to work for. Striving for perfection is not so practical, but defining a desirable work environment in which you would enjoy working can be helpful while choosing a suitable job ad you want to apply for.
Consider the following:
- Which area of business are you most interested in?
- Do you prefer to work in a smaller or larger team?
- What are your personal values?
- Do you prefer procedures or freedom at work?
- What are other criteria personally important to you while assessing and selecting an employer of choice?
No matter how much you need this job, it is superfluous to invest your time in a job application and then an interview meeting at a company with a location that does not suit you or in a company that requires from you to work in a shift that is not suitable for you. While researching, you might get a sense of a company’s work environment so you could decide if it seems appropriate and stimulating for you.
Collect as much information as possible before applying
Inform yourself about:
- what they do, what industry they operate in and what services or products they provide;
- their clients – whether they are business or private users;
- headquarters and countries in which they have offices;
- their brand – whether it is more corporate, formal or cheerful, informal as it can say a lot about their communication style or dress code of the company;
- awards and/or certificates the company has, etc.
You should do this not only to make a good impression and present yourself as a fit but for your own sake. The selection process is a two-way street, and as employers learn about you through your CV, you should also be informed about relevant details about the company, even before you submit your application.
Where can I find information about a company?
The most formal assessment can be done through the website of the Business Registers Agency, where you can find all the important information about the company, but in the first place, it will help you confirm its validity.
Knowing somebody who already works at that company is an excellent source of information, but you have to be lucky for this one. Be sure to ask your acquaintances and friends if they know anyone who works at that company. You will be surprised how small this world is and how easily you can get in direct contact with a person who works at that company and who can give you first-hand information, but keep in mind that the employee’s impression is still very personal and that it may not be entirely objective.
There are several channels on the Internet through which you can get the information you want:
- Job posting portals – Portals such as Glassdoor provide insight into the impressions of current employees as well as those who have left the company. Unfortunately, people who are dissatisfied leave comments on the internet more often than those who are satisfied, so consider that when evaluating. Indeed, it is good to know what employees resent to their management before engaging in collaboration.
- Company Website – After reading in detail about the company’s activities and services or products, invest additional time to read “About Us” or “Our Team” pages, where you can learn more about employees. The ideal situation is when the company publicly mentions their values and causes that support because it will be easier for you to discover if they are a match to your personal values.
- Social media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) – On social networks, companies often write in a slightly more informal manner about their day-to-day activities and events, so you can gain significant insight into the culture, the way they communicate and the atmosphere.
While it is one of the most important factors, salary should by no means be the only reason why you are motivated to work in a company. Short term, a higher salary can be a major incentive, but later on, it always turns out that if you are doing a job that is not fulfilling, in an environment that is unpleasant or is not encouraging you to progress, so it is not a good choice in the long run.
Take an opportunity to create an image of the company as a future employer in advance, and if you like their culture and values, you will inevitably show a genuine desire on the interview and thus gain the sympathy of the employer and place yourself among the top candidates.