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There’s no great secret to performing well in a job interview – it relies heavily on research, preparation and good interview technique.
We’ve got preparing your answers to the most common graduate job interview questions covered - but in order to succeed in a job interview, researching the employer is just as important. As well as helping you to feel more prepared, it will also show that you understand the company, and that you are enthusiastic about the role.
Researching an employer is key to nailing a graduate job interview – so what do you need to know?
When researching the company, you should try to find out:
Once you know what you’re looking for, here’s how you can go about finding it:
The internet has made it easier than ever to research employers – so it’s worth taking the time to learn as much as you can about the company online.
Usually, you’ll be able to find out what the company does (their product or service), their history and major successes, recent news, and information about the team – try the home page, ‘About Us’ and ‘Meet The Team’ pages. Many company's display their mission statement here too, but if they don't, you might have to dig a little deeper!
Take note of recurring messages, themes or values that appear across the site. Whether you notice a clear focus on company culture, or you come across lots of information on their ethical policy – these things will help to shape your understanding of the organisation, and what they look for in an employee.
To get even further information about a company, including any previous company names or the CEO and Director's names, you could also use Companies House.
These days, the majority of companies are present on at least one social media platform -and often several. A Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube or Instagram feed can give you great insight into what a company is like, as well as some of its key players.
Bear in mind that each social media platform is slightly different (you’re more likely to find information on the company’s clients on LinkedIn, and their culture on Instagram).
If you come across the company on social media, ‘like’ or ‘follow’ their page to get updates on the latest news, and to see what they are posting or sharing.
If you know who is going to be interviewing you, search their name on LinkedIn – and check their profile for information on their role, background and interests. If you come across any common interests, you can mention these in the interview to establish rapport with the employer... In this context you will not look like a social media stalker, simply a very pro active candidate!
Sites like Glassdoor, The Job Crowd and Crunchbase feature company profiles and reviews from previous employees, as well as business information (such as investments, countries they are expanding to, and the number of employees at the company).
Researching what candidates in similar graduate jobs were asked in their interview will help you to prepare your answers – and similarly, their reviews can also give you further insight into the company culture and what to expect from their leadership.
Seeking information on the business will also give you an insight into its successes and defining moments (i.e. did the company recently receive a large amount of funding?) – which, if mentioned in your interview, will be highly impressive to the employer.
Staying up to date on the organisation’s newest product or latest industry trends will not only help you to feel prepared, but can also be a great conversation starter in a graduate job interview.
Google and Google News can be a great place to access news, and doing a quick search will likely present you with information that may not appear on the company’s own website or social media profiles.
If you know that you can find news on the company in a specific location i.e. the Financial Times, TechUK or FinTech Weekly, make sure you’re up to scratch on all the latest happenings, so that you won’t be caught out if anything is mentioned in the interview.
As well as researching the company you’re interviewing for, it’s also a good idea to look into the industry it sits within, and the organisation’s key competitors.
This will help to get you up to speed on current trends within the industry, to better understand the niche that the company fills, and what makes its product or service unique. Once you have a good grasp of this, you’ll be able to use it to your advantage – to help yourself stand out from the crowd in an interview.
Before you go to interview for graduate jobs, it’s important to thoroughly research the company – to help yourself feel more prepared, and to indicate to the employer that you’re committed to the role, and knowledgeable about their business.
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