Abraham Lincoln said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my ax.” Wise words about preparation. Same for interviewing, if you have one hour for an interview spend three or four hours preparing.
78% of all job candidates “wing” the interview. This means they go in with no or very minimal preparation. The #1 turnoff for a hiring manager is lack of preparation for the interview which typically comes down to not knowing anything about the company. With the advent of the internet and all the easily accessible information about virtually any company, being unprepared has become even a greater interview sin!
So what do you need to know? Lets go from basic to sophisticated.
- What does the company do
- What is their market
- How big are they (revenue/employees)
- Geographic location (local/regional/national/international)
- Years in business
- Corporate structure (private/public/non-profit)
- Names of products or services
- Are they growing, stable, shrinking
- Market trends affecting company and their market
- Significant company and industry risk factors
- Primary competitors and their strengths
- Life cycle of company products (early stage, growing, mature, outdated)
- Company culture
- Quality of leadership team
- Interviewer’s background/experience
- Vulnerability to takeover
Information can be easily learned from the company website, industry publications, news articles and press releases. Also, there are a number of new internet sites that provide insider information such as GlassDoor.com.
With only a minimal amount of effort you can be better prepared than 78% of your competition. Going into your interview with a sharp ax will prepare you to chop down the job and bring it home.