Family Magazine

Do Your Homework Before a Job Interview

By Michelle Merritt @michellemerritt

On occasion, there is such a thing as a dumb question.

We've talked about the importance of coming to an interview prepared with questions for your interviewer. But there is a big difference in the kinds of questions you might ask.

One might be, "I've noticed that you recently added a new lineup of services. What has the response been thus far?"

Another might be, "So, what does your company do exactly?"

Can you spot the dumb question? (Hint: It's the latter.) This is why it's important to do your homework before a job interview.

A potential employer wants to know that you're interested in the company that he or she works for. If you can structure a question that reveals that you've researched the company before your meeting, you've reassured your interviewer that you care enough to learn more about what the organization has been up to.

By doing your homework before a job interview, you've also communicated to the employer that you have at least a basic understanding of the products, services and people that make up the company, and that you consider yourself a good fit. If you know something about how they operate and you still think you'd like to work there, that's one less worry for the interviewer.

Researching the company to which you're applying also demonstrates initiative and resourcefulness, two qualities that nearly all employers can agree are important in their hires.

So what are some ways to complete a little company recon mission?

  • Read the company's website.
  • Sign up for the company's email list.
  • Review the company's social media presences.
  • Google the company's name and read the articles that appear.
  • If the company is in another city, investigate that place's visitors' bureau.
  • If possible and applicable, purchase the company's goods or services.
  • Check out the company's profile on LinkedIn.
  • Talk to people who are familiar with the company or, even better, who work there.

As you do your homework for a job interview, pay close attention to the history, the names of important people and any news or announcements. These will be key details to listen for throughout your discussion and to work into your smart questions for your interviewer.

If you're struggling to come up with ways to relate what you've learned about the company with a question, talk to us at Merrfeld. We can help develop a list and provide an opportunity to practice the asking. With a little preparation, you're sure to score an A plus on this assignment!

Photo by winnond, freedigitalphotos.net.

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