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Do Your Research—Fast—and Still Wow Your Interviewer

The Weekend Job Search Assignment #10: Do your research to ace the interview—and land the job

Welcome to week 10 of The Weekend Job Search, our ongoing series that breaks the whole job-search process into 13 totally doable to-do items.

Last week, you had a mock interview with a friend or family member, and with any luck did a lot to anticipate any tricky questions, and allay your jitters.

This week, to really impress hiring managers and stand out against the competition, you’re going to really get to know the company and position you’re interviewing for by doing your research. And if there’s no interview on the calendar, no worries—you’ll just use a company you’re targeting for this exercise.

The Weekend Job Search Assignment #10

Research the Company and Interviewer

Every time you go into an interview, you have to remind yourself there are at least three other candidates vying for that same position, all working just as hard as you to impress the hiring manager and land the gig.

And while most candidates spend a great deal of time formulating the perfect responses to questions, many forget to do the most important prep—learning everything they can about the company and the people who are interviewing them. And that’s how you will show them up.

Let’s start today—and remember, if you have no interview on the horizon, use a company you’re targeting for this exercise.

1. Start with the basics.

The best place to kick off your research is with the “About Us” page. Right now, take notes on things such as:

  • Number of years in business
  • Number and location of offices
  • The client roster (if it’s an ad agency)
  • Type of work the team you’re applying for does
  • The company’s mission statement
Want even more help on your interview preparation? The counselors with Mediabistro’s Career Services can help you refine your interview skills in a one-on-one session.

2. Dig into company news, reviews and people.

Make notes on what you find on the Web and the company blog about recent news stories about the company. Did it recently win an award? Merge with another company? Hire a new vp or creative director? Anything you can mention or congratulate people on will go a long way.

Search LinkedIn for the hiring manager, as well as for people who have or had the role to which you’re applying. Check out their backgrounds and how they describe their roles. Use this information to get a better picture of the position and the person you’ll be interviewing with.

Who knows? Maybe you and the hiring manager both went to the same college, or have volunteered at the same organization. Even a small connection can help to break down barriers and foster better connections in the interview.

3. Develop smart questions.

During the interview, the hiring manager is going to eventually say, “Do you have any questions for me?” This is where you knock their socks off with your well-researched information.

Use your notes to formulate three questions; these should spark conversation with the interviewer, but also demonstrate that you took the time to research the company.

Let’s say you found out the company recently won Clio’s Independent Agency of the Year award. You might say, “Congratulations on winning the Clio award; how has this high-profile award affected business?”

Or, if you discovered the hiring manager is also Inbound Certified, you might say, “I noticed you’re also Hubspot Inbound Certified; how much of what you learned is implemented in your team’s marketing?”

And that’s week 10!

Next week, we’ll work on telling your story, otherwise known as your elevator pitch.

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