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Researching for your interview: Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

Preparing for your interview may seem like a task you simply don’t have time for or feel is overly necessary but having gone through the effort to make sure your CV stands out then doing in-depth research prior to speaking with your prospective new employer is a logical and essential next step. Effectively researching the company and the people you are going to be speaking with shows you are taking a career focussed approach to your job hunt and demonstrates the detail-orientated nature companies look for in a new hire.

Below is what you need to be looking for.

Goals and Mission Statement:

This allows you to gain a better understanding of what the company is trying to achieve and where they want to position themselves in the market. Do they align with your own and where you see yourself getting to in the future?

Clients/Customers & Stakeholders:

Understanding your potential employers’ clients and stakeholders will enable you to tailor your responses to queries around your own experience to their target demographic. This will help the interviewer understand cultural alignment and how you could potentially develop within their organisation for the betterment of all parties.

What They Do:

Plain and simple really but make sure you do not just read through a companies’ website. Always strive to get additional information from neutral sources and have a clear idea of each company’s unique offerings. You will be asked!

Your Interviewer(s):

This will help you find relatable topics to discuss in the interview. The most successful interviews are conversations that flow as opposed to question-and-answer sessions so anything you can glean from Linkedin profiles/company websites etc will help you to find common ground.

Decision Makers:

Similarly, having an appreciation of the senior staff members’ backgrounds and career arcs may well differentiate you from other applicants as your newly gained understanding will create a more open conversation.

News and Events:

This shows your enthusiasm and level of research but also shows that you want to keep fully up to date with the company’s activities. It also infers that you are willing, and wanting, to immerse yourself into their culture and plans for the future.

Product/ Service Reviews:

Researching your relative strengths when set against those of the company shows your skills are aligned with theirs. Familiarise yourself with how your potential new employer is perceived by the outside world. Should you come across anything negative, think of some constructive ways in which your experience & ideas could help turn that around.


Assessing an organisation’s accolades allows you to ask informative and insightful questions as to how such successes were achieved.

Company Culture:

This aspect has never been as important as it is currently. Your work accounts for half your active day so it is vital that you have a prior understanding of the environment you are potentially heading into and that it correlates with how you like to operate & interact with your work colleagues.

Company USP (Unique Selling Point):

What differentiates the organisation from others within their sector? Whatever it is, it’s why they succeed. Research their USP and why it’s worked for them, it will lead to a greater understanding of the company and help you decide whether or not you want to get on board.

Competitors and Industry: 

Linked to their USP, you have to gain an understanding of what their direct competitors are doing so you can offer a more encompassing view of the market and where your expertise could potentially help them gain an advantage.

Company History:

How has the company developed from inception to where they find themselves at the time of your interview. Most companies have intriguing back stories which current employees will have fully bought into and more then likely question your knowledge of during the interview process.

Following these steps will guarantee you are fully informed when going into an interview while putting you in good stead to get to the next stage. As the old adage goes, fail to prepare = prepare to fail!