How to Research a Company Before an Interview

You can prepare for an interview by researching the company to discover how they treat their customers and employees, what goals they want to reach and what they stand for. This research provides you insight to prepare quality answers and ask the most relevant questions. It also allows you to highlight what interested you in the position and company during your interview. In this article, you will learn how to research a company before an interview so you can impress the interviewer.

Why research a company before an interview?

The information you gather from researching the company can help you illustrate your personal values and goals to your interviewer, setting you apart from other candidates. You should research the company you’re interviewing with in order to:

  • Decide if you want to work for the company. In your research, you may find that the organization’s culture and goals match yours, which may increase your interest in having a successful interview. You may also see that employees stay with the company for many years, which can be a sign that this company serves its employees well.
  • Explain why you want to work for the company. Your interviewer may ask you why you want to work for the company, and researching the company ahead of time can help you prepare effective response. Learn about the company’s culture, values and goals so you can provide specific reasons in your response.
  • Show your interest in the industry and the company. You can demonstrate your passion for your industry and excitement for working with a company by preparing talking points that are important to you and your career. This strategy can show how motivated you are in serving on their team.
  • Prepare your answers. Your research might give you ideas as to what the interviewers might ask or want to discuss. If you know the company well, you may be able to anticipate their questions and respond clearly and thoughtfully. You might also be more confident and relaxed. 
  • Ask relevant questions. The end of the interview is your opportunity to ask the interviewer questions. Prepare several questions you want to ask based on your research. 

How to research a company

Follow these steps to research a company before an interview:

1. Read the company’s website and learn about what’s important to them

Many company sites have an ‘About Us’ page that describes the organization’s history, founders, location, size, values and purpose. If the company has a ‘Recent News’ page, make sure to read their latest press releases and announcements to learn about important events, such as recent mergers or major hires. You can use this information to better understand the company’s mission, goals and achievements and see what contributions you can make.

You should also familiarize yourself with the company’s products or services to prepare you for questions regarding your knowledge of what the company provides. Be sure to understand the value each product or service brings to further demonstrate your investment in the company’s goals.

2. Research the industry and the latest company news using search engines

Search engines can reveal information not listed on a company’s website. Customer reviews are particularly useful for learning about a company’s reputation or the quality of their services or products. You can also use search engines to identify the company’s competitors, which can provide you insight into the company’s position in the industry. You can use the information on customer satisfaction and competitors to show that you care about the company’s success and reputation. 

3. Check their social media accounts and see how they interact with their audience

Browse the company’s social media profiles to see how they promote their products or services, interact with customers and demonstrate their company culture. You may find posts that advertise a new product launch, announce a new solution to common customer issues or publish photos of a recent team outing. All of this information can show you how the company publicly presents its mission and values, and it can provide more talking points for your interview. 

Consider complimenting how their customer service team uses social media to answer questions or asking about other team-building activities they have planned for the next quarter. This step can help you further demonstrate your interest in joining the team and being a part of their goals.

4. Research your interviewer to find personal and professional connections

Before your interview, you can search for the hiring manager on their professional networking profile to see if you have anything in common, such as a mutual connection or area of study in college. This information can help you form a more personal connection with your interviewer to improve their ability to recall you when making their hiring decision.

5. Use your professional network to learn more about the company and opportunity

You can use your own professional network to learn more about the company you’re interviewing with. Consider reviewing your contacts to see if you have first or second connections who currently work for the company or have worked there in the past. 

You may reach out to those connections to get an insider’s perspective on the company culture and day-to-day environment. You might even learn more about the company’s interview process as well, further preparing you for specific questions. This strategy may also provide you with a reference who might reach out to the hiring manager on your behalf.

As you collect information, consider writing a list of items you find most important or relevant to your prospective role, professional goals or personal values. You can review this list before your interview to ensure you can easily recall these details as you discuss the opportunity with your interviewer.