Be Prepared! Research the Company

If you really want the job, one of the best ways to impress your prospective employer is by arriving for the interview well informed about the company and its needs. The more you know, the more the employer will understand how much you want to work there. The less you know, the less likely you are to get the job.

Try to have the answers to as many of the following questions as possible before sitting down with the interviewer:

  • What products/services do they make/offer?
  • How big are they?
  • What is the history of the company?
  • How is the organization structured?
  • What kinds of jobs are available there?
  • What is the normal salary range for this position?
  • Who are their major competitors?
  • Have there been any big changes in their industry recently?
  • What kind of long-term career options are available?
  • What are some of the issues/problems currently faced by this particular company or industry?

Possible sources for this information include:

  • newspapers
  • yellow pages
  • professional journals
  • company newsletters
  • industrial directories
  • trade magazines
  • Internet sites
  • annual reports/product information literature

Your local library will be a great help in finding what you need – start there.

If the company is fairly new, or very small, information about them may be hard to find. In that case try to do an information interview. This means contacting someone within the organization and asking if they would meet with you to talk about the employer and what the job entails. Do not ask for a job, and do not take up more of your contact’s time than originally agreed upon. Information interviews are a great way to get the inside track on a company, but it’s as important to make a good impression when you’re asking questions as it is when you’re answering them.