How Much Should You Know Before an Interview?

May 2nd, 2014

Articles offering interview advice often say two things: research the company before you go in, and have a list of intelligent questions to ask about the position and the organization. But what should you find out ahead of time, and what should you ask? Here are the basics:

In the interview, you’ll probably be asked about why you want to work for the company and what you know about them already. Start with:

What they do and why

Be clear on exactly what the company does and be able to explain how working for them fits into your career goals. You’ll also want to check out the company’s mission, or why they do what they do. You can incorporate your understanding of that mission into your explanation of why you want to work there. If none of this information is on the company’s website, you may want to consider the omission a red flag.

The corporate culture

You’ll want to know ahead of time what kind of company culture you’d be entering. That way you can make sure to highlight those aspects of your personality that will show them that you fit in. Culture is somewhat of an intangible, but try sites like to read reviews of different companies. You can also check out their social media presence on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

What’s new with them

If something big has happened within the company lately, you’d better know about it! Try Google news to dig up recent press.

Knowing this information ahead of time will help you come across as prepared, savvy and able to carry on an informed conversation. Then, there comes a time in every interview when you’ll be asked if you have any questions. Here are the types you should ask:

  • How has this position evolved since it was created? What you want to know is whether the position has expanded beyond its original scope and whether it offers opportunities for advancement.
  • How have previous employees succeeded in this position? This will tell you what the expectations will be and whether you have the skill set to meet them.
  • What is the top priority for the person in this position over the next three months? The answer will tell you what you need to focus on if you get hired. You’ll know what to accomplish or how to make the right impression during your first days on the job.
  • Do you have any hesitations about my qualifications? This shows the interviewer that you’re secure enough to discuss your weaknesses. It also shows confidence and the ability to be coached, both of which are attractive to employers.

They say knowledge is power, and if you walk into an interview armed with this type of knowledge, you’ll feel much more in control of the interview and your ability to be successful. And if you work with Synerfac, we help get you interview-ready for opportunities with some really terrific companies. Contact us today to learn more!

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