Before an Interview
Do your homework and find out what kind of research is necessary before an interview
Research the Company and Industry
- The Basics – The company website is a great place to look for information about the company’s purpose, mission, values, goals, history, leadership, product and size
- Impressive Accomplishments – Make sure you are aware of the company’s awards, achievements and honorable mentions
- News Stories – Being up-to-date on the company’s current happenings shows that you keep up with the news and are aware of the public opinion of the company. Do an external search online for press releases and media attention; these make great talking points
- Prepare Questions – Asking intelligent questions at the end of the interview is another way to show you have done your research. Check out our list of questions to ask an employer
- Financial Documents – If the company is publicly traded, 10K and 10Q financial reports can tell you a lot about the company’s operations, financial health, risk management and business strategy
- Industry Trends – What are the new and cutting edge technologies, management techniques and sales and marketing practices?
- Competitors – Who are they?
- Differentiation – How does this company distinguish itself from others in the industry?
Research the Interviewer
- What is this person’s job title?
- What does he or she do?
- How long has he or she been working there? (search employment history on LinkedIn)
- To whom does he or she report?
- Who does he or she supervise?
Research the Position
- Identify Keywords in Job Description – Match your questions to the job description. Be aware of the key duties and responsibilities that the position entails. What are the qualifications and expectations for the position?
- Recognize the Big Picture – How does this role benefit the department? Even more importantly, how does this position contribute to the company’s overall success?
- Discover Why There’s an Opening – Did someone leave? Why? Is this a new position? Why was it created? What new task are they hoping to accomplish with this position? What will success and failure look like?
- Identify Your Skills – Take a moment of self-reflection to identify the unique, relevant skills you would bring to this position. Be honest. What skills need improvement? How is your attitude? Would co-workers describe you as the best attitude in the company?
- Knowledge-Based Skills – The skills you learned through previous work experience, education and training
- Examples: Customer service experience, computer skills, web design
- Transferable Skills – The fundamental skills you bring with you to any job
- Examples: Writing, organization, time management, problem solving
- Personality Traits – The unique characteristics that make you who you are
- Examples: Creative, outgoing, willing to take risks, self-starter
- Be prepared to show examples
- Match Your Skills to Keywords in Job Description – Thinking of strengths that are irrelevant to the job description will not help you get the position. Only state skills and strengths that show you can meet the needs of this role. How will your skills help you succeed in this position? What do you have to offer that will benefit the company? Show parallels between your specific skill set and the duties and responsibilities of the position to show you are a good fit and will get the job done
- Think of Your Accomplishments – Be prepared to provide a specific example and tell a story about a professional achievement
What to Wear
- Crisp, clean, wrinkle-free suit (gray or navy for men and black, gray or navy for women)
- Shine your shoes
- Nice folder or briefcase
- Solid shirt – white or blue
- Women – minimal makeup, minimal jewelry, no perfume
- Men – minimal jewelry, no cologne
What to Bring
- Multiple copies of your resume
- Two to three professional references (phone numbers and e-mails)
- Pen and pad of paper
- Anything else the company requested you bring (writing samples, prior projects, cover letter, etc.)