When it Comes to Your Interview, Information is Your Best Friend

by Brian Skory

Back in the day, if you wanted to really prepare for your job interview, you’d have to go to the Public Library and do some research on the company you were interviewing with. There, you would find dusty old tomes in which you could look up information about the company, and you could learn even more about them by accessing microfiche newspaper and magazine articles. Fortunately, those days are mostly a thing of the past, and just from a single Google search, you can know more about a company in an hour than you could from an entire afternoon spent at the library.

Information is your best friend when you are interviewing for a position. The more information you are armed with, the more opportunities there are for you to stand out from your competitors. Some of the basic information you’ll want to come prepared with includes the following:

Who are you interviewing with?

If your recruiter hasn’t provided you with the interviewers’ names, just ask. Most will be happy to pass that on to you. Then, look up your interviewers on LinkedIn and get to know them a bit. If they tweet about their profession (many developers do) you can also visit their twitter feed and go through some of their comments and conversations. This can often provide valuable information about the technology direction of a company.

What does the company do?

You might have a good job description for the role you are interviewing for, but rarely does it contain a lot of information about the company itself. Go to their website and spend some time familiarizing yourself with their product and what it is that they do. Go to the careers section as well and see what else they are recruiting for. Who knows, there might be another position that’s an even better match for you.

Try to learn about the company culture.

Your recruiter may have some information here, but also check out Glass Door to get a feel for the culture of the company. I don’t recommend taking as gospel truth everything you read on review sites, however. There’s always going to be a few disgruntled employees who are going to leave a scathing review, but taken as a whole they can provide some useful information about a business.

Continue learning more about the company.

Do some news searches on the company and see what is being said about it in the media. Perhaps they have just gone through an acquisition, and if you’ve had the experience of living through a merger, that would be good information to highlight during your interview.

Check the company’s financial health.

I have several acquaintances who left good jobs only to go to work for companies that went out of business shortly afterward. If you are at all inclined to dive into financial reports, a bit of homework in this area could prevent you from jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. It’s not as hard as it seems. To guide you through the process, this article from Dice is a great place to start.

In this day and age of information overload, this is one case where additional information is your friend. As always, if you are looking for new opportunities in the tech industry, feel free to browse our job board or contact us.

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