Job interviews. There must be a better way to prepare than hoping you get the questions you prepared for? Here is a great strategy to focus your research for your interview.
Part of the stress when applying for a position is not knowing what you need to know in the first place. Some of the questions that’ll probably be flying through your mind are:
- What will I be asked?
- What questions should I expect?
- What answers should I have prepared?
- Will I even be able to answer?
We’ve decided that the best way to help you prepare is to give you a simple strategy that you can use to help you focus your research. The less work the better, right? Whether it’s with a big company, a start-up or a non-profit organisation, this plan will (hopefully) have you ready for any interview.
Here’s the strategy in one bite-size chunk; big-picture thinking. Instead of just preparing for the expected questions, understand how you (and the organisation) fit together in the bigger picture. Every individual works in an organisation, and every organisation works in an industry (see the diagram below).
In your research, think about how these different levels fit into each other. Most candidates will be able to answer questions, but showing a deeper and broader understanding of the organisation will certainly impress your interviewers.
Every individual fits into an organisation, and every organisation fits into an industry.
Understanding how the industry, the organisation and your position all fit into each other will give you a strong sense of direction and context during the interview. If you’re asked about yourself, it will be easy to show how you relate to the organisation. If you’re asked about the industry, you can relate your ideas to the organisation and then to yourself.
This understanding of context will give you the confidence to answer questions at any level. It will also give your interviewers the impression that you are well-informed, competent and can apply knowledge in different contexts. With this strategy, you should be able to deal with any question thrown at you and impress your interviewers with your ability to see the bigger picture.
Here are some great sites to use to get extra information on your organisation.
Crunchbase is a great site to get financial information about organisations from around the world. You can find out about rounds of funding, acquisitions and recent hires, as well as press coverage, clients and senior staff.
LinkedIn is a major social network for professionals, almost like a Facebook page for your professional identity. You can use this to find information about the people in the organisation you are applying for, including your interviewers and your potential boss. Organisations also have their own Linkedin pages, which you can use to find out more about them.
Glassdoor is a site that hosts employee reviews of their companies. This is a useful site for you to use to find out more about what it is like to work for an organisation, from the mouths of people who worked there. This information may not come up in your interview, but it will give a better sense of the company in a way that you won’t get from their official website or news articles.
Google News will help you find news articles about your organisation. Being up to date with what an organisation has been doing and how it is represented in the media is very important for an interview. Use Google News to stay up to date with an organisation right up until the time of the interview.
A successful interview is about more than just being well researched. Don’t cram your research all in the day before. Do a little everyday to make sure you arrive at the interview feeling relaxed and confident. Check out our other articles on getting ready for an interview, like “Maintain a positive mental attitude” and “Prepare in Advance”.
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