Research is Vital - Know the Company Before the Job Interview

Along with practicing job interview techniques and interview questions, company research is critical before the job interview. Nothing impresses an employer more in the job interview then hearing a candidate speak about their company. This will really show an employer that you really want to work for them and you are determined to succeed. So what should you research and how do you begin? Research the industry, get a perspective of the company and recent activities or accomplishments, find out what products and services they provide, who their competitors are. Also if possible, determine what the company culture is like and read their mission statement.

Here are some valuable guidelines to keep in mind when researching a company online before your job interview:

Company web site: Using search engines such as Google or MSN, find the company. If you already know the URL, go to the company web site. Navigate through the various menu tabs, such as, About Us, Products, Services, Mission and Executive or Management Team. The company web site is the best source of information.

General company information: Look specifically at the "About Us" or "Company History" section as it will give you the profile of the company. Remember all the important information to mention in the job interview.

Determine skills: Prepare a list of the services and products the company offers. Verify how your skills and experience can fit in. Look at the job descriptions pertaining to the position you will be interviewing for.

Keep current: Locate the "News & Information" and "Press Releases" sections if available. This will give you updated information on the new company projects and other changes and company acknowledgments.

Competitors: Who are direct competitors to the company? Search for information about the company's competitors on the company web site or via search engines. This will help you answer strategic questions about company marketing in the job interview.

Blogs and groups: Many reputable companies and their employees and executives post good information about these companies in blogs. Blogs are a great way to get current information about a company. Also, look online for groups and discussion forums.

Other resources: There are many professional databases that develop company profiles for free. If the company is large you may also find information about it in reputable business sites such as Fortune 500 and Forbes. If you choose to do a physical search, most libraries have a business section with stored archived information and annual report for companies.

Researching a company can leave a good first impression employer. Next time you are in a job interview and the employer asks if you know about the company or if you have any questions, impress them and you will get noticed.