How to succeed in a job interview: know the company

Por Juliana de Souza, CCDP*

by Juliana de Souza, CCDP

Know the Company

Most job seekers know that well-done company research is an important part of succeeding in a job interview. Understanding the company’s business, clients, products, services and operations will give any job hunter an advantage during the interview process. But more important than memorizing data is to relate the information to yourself. Repeating the organization’s history and some statistics about a potential employer may impress your interviewers, but it won’t give them the confidence they need that you are the best candidate for the position.

During your research, combine the material you find with your own work history. Any company information that relates to your background should be marked, and later on paired with an example from your previous achievements. For example, you learned from your research that the company you are interviewing for is expanding business with China, and you are familiar with the way Chinese people do business, you must share this information with your interviewers. Chances are you have a very interesting story that your potential employer would like to hear, and you would definitely be a great asset for this company’s expansion success.

Learning more about the people who are going to interview you can help you develop a connection with your interviewers on a more personal level. Some companies have a section on their website where you can learn more about their management team, and you can also check their LinkedIn profiles. These resources may give you some hints about your interviewers’ personalities, ideas to break the ice, and small talk during the job interview. But remember not to be creepy about it; knowing some information about someone’s background doesn’t make you a best friend. It is a fine line between an awkward situation and a genuine connection. During one of my job interviews, I learned prior to the interview that the director who was going to interview me had a journalism background like me. She had moved on with her career, and so had I. But I knew that I could use this information to develop a relationship with her. So I did, and for a while we enjoyed a good conversation about our common background. It worked; it helped me to get hired.

If you don’t know what to ask at the end of a job interview, your research can help you prepare some appropriate, intelligent questions. Research can also spare you the embarrassment of asking questions to which the answers could easily be found on the company’s website. Make sure to have three to five questions to ask at the end of the interview, and these questions should relate to the job you are applying for. It makes no sense to ask about the company’s IT department structure if you are applying for the accounting clerk position.

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Another perk of sound research is that you can learn more about the company’s culture. If you have an opportunity to conduct information interviews with people who work for the organization you would like to work for, you can learn a great deal of inside information that isn’t published on the company’s website. Learning about the company’s culture prior to accepting a job offer will give you a chance to make an educated choice regarding whether or not you would like to work for that organization. If you can’t honestly answer to yourself, “Why do I want to work for X company?” you may need to spend more time learning more about the company. It is an empowering exercise. Don’t let employers fool you that they have all the cards in your job search process. Your company research will help you take control of your career.

*Juliana de Souza is a certified career development practitioner and Resume writer in BC. She has a Bachelor of Journalism degree from PUC-Campinas, Brazil, and eight years of working experience in the employment field. Through her work, she has helped new Canadians and other professionals achieve their employment goals. The best ways to contact Juliana are by email at:[email protected] or by her LinkedIn profile: