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Ever made the mistake of not researching a company before you go for an interview there? If you have, you will realise what a hideous oversight it is. There’s nothing worse than interviewing a candidate who doesn’t even know what the company does. Worse still; knowing that such a fumble is 100% avoidable and not doing your preinterview research is a surefire way to look like a chump. We cannot stress this enough; do as much preinterview research as possible, it won’t go to waste. Thorough research in the not so secret weapon you want to keep in your arsenal for that interview. It’s this simple; the more you know, the better you are able to hone your interview strategy and the more likely you are to win your interviewer over. On the other side of the same coin, you have the chance to tell your recruiter ahead of time if you are not in fact interested in the position – and trust me we appreciate your honesty.

Know What They Sell

Of course, many companies provide a service rather than a product but you get the drift. By knowing how they make their money you are better able to position yourself in such a way as to offer them as much value as possible. If you can convincingly relate your skills and experience back to something they offer, sell or want to explore, you become not only qualified but also relevant within that particular space. If you don’t know what the company do, offer or sell how can you be sure you’re actually interested in the job?

Know Their Ethos

Sure a lot of companies have a mission statement but their value system should be a bit more relatable and even tangible. This is the information you will find when you read between the lines. It’s in the way the website runs, how the about us page is written, the type of information comes up about the company when you Google them. Is the company involved in any social upliftment schemes? Do they regularly dedicate time towards team building and company culture? These are all very important questions which will greatly aid you in not only finding out what kind of employee they are looking for but also whether or not you actually want to work there.

Know Their News

Assuming you now know the vibe and the product its pretty essential to know more about the company itself. Along with the news about any extracurricular activities in the news, you should find information about any recent structural changes, new ventures or other industry related news. If the company has recently been listed on the stock exchange if their share prices have fallen and the reputation of their products or services. If you were applying for a job at a company which has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, you had better know all about it.

Know Their People

You may have only had contact with the recruiter or the human resources team ahead of the interview but you do need to know who is interviewing you and who the most important people in the company and your department are. If you don’t have this information readily available don’t be afraid to ask for it. These are important people and they are the people you need to impress. Get to know about them, their career paths, their position and rank within the organisation. The more you know about them the better you are able to understand their motivations and biases in order to successfully build rapport. LinkedIn is one of the best places to carry out this sort of research.

Know Their Competitors

Sure they know their competitors but do you? A bit of research will unearth a few less obvious competitors which you may not have previously been familiar with. Get to know the key differences and similarities between the companies to illustrate that you have a broader understanding of the industry. This will go a long way to helping you ask the most pertinent questions about the organisation, their strategies and where you will potentially fit in.

With all of this essential information neatly filed away either in your brain or a notebook, you are a step closer to a handshake. If you walk in there knowing all about the company, it’s people, it’s products or services and its ethos you have the edge over other candidates because you aren’t wasting time asking questions which you should already know the answers to.