Preparing for the interview process by thoroughly researching your prospective employer will help you stand out to the interviewer and give you a competitive advantage over other candidates. Tech companies hiring remote software developers, engineers and UX designers, like you, want to see that you have taken the time to research the company before the interview, proving your authentic interest and enthusiasm for the role. But that’s not all. Let’s take a deeper look at why it’s important to research the company before the interview, what things to research, and where we should be looking.
To get a clear overall picture of the company
Even before applying for a job, you should research the company to get an overall picture of what they do and the services or products they provide. Look for information about the organization. Where is it located? Who owns and runs it? Who is their target market? Who are their past and present clients? How long have they been in business and how have they developed and expanded over the years? The more company information you know, the more you will have to discuss in the interview and the more enthusiastic you will appear, making a positive impression on your interviewer.
Start by looking on the company’s website. The ‘about us’ section, the annual report, blogs and case studies of past projects can give you a good insight into the organization and their accomplishments.
To demonstrate wider industry knowledge and awareness of competitors
As well as researching the company you are interviewing with, it is just as important to have a general understanding and knowledge of the industry as a whole. That means knowing who its direct competitors are, how the company differs, and how it fits into the bigger picture. This can help you answer why you want to work for a specific company and how you can contribute to its growth within the industry.
Another top tip for locating a company’s competitors is by going to the LinkedIn company page and scrolling down to the “Pages people also viewed” section. Do the same with the competitors until you get a good sense of who the big players are in the field. Google search the main competitors and pay attention to what they are doing differently. Look at the bigger picture, as opposed to specific project details.
To understand what skills and experience the company values
In order to position yourself as the best software developer for the job, it’s important to understand what the company looks for when hiring a qualified candidate. Not only will this help you decide whether that particular remote job is right for you, but it will also help you to think about why you want to work there and prepare examples of how your skills and experiences are relevant.
Pay attention to the words selected by the recruiter in the job description as they can reveal a lot about underlying priorities and values. The company’s career page will also give you an idea of the type of employees they are looking to attract.
To be knowledgeable about the company’s latest news and events
Being up-to-date on the company’s latest projects, accomplishments and events, and commenting on them in the business interview is a great way to not only show interest in the company but also communicate similar past experiences and demonstrate how your knowledge and skills could be of value in future projects.
The company’s own blog is an obvious place to start looking for information on the latest news and events. Alternatively, scour Google to see what other people have written, or what press releases the organization has diffused. LinkedIn is a good platform to gain insight into and keep on top of company updates, using the ‘follow’ tool. Use the information shared on their profile to guide what topics to bring up in the interview. Finally, check out the company’s Twitter and Facebook profiles and take note of any positive news and interactions with followers to comment on in the interview.
To make sure you are a good cultural fit for the company
Aside from your technical aptitude, the interviewer wants to know whether you are aligned with the company’s culture. This refers to the underlying values, beliefs, vision and practices that characterize the company. Researching the company culture before the interview process will help you decide whether the job is right for you. Make a list of your own workplace values to help you distinguish what you and the company have in common. This will also help you tailor your answers to make them culture fit for the interview.
As you research the company, look out for information regarding their values and mission, taking note of any keywords communicating their core beliefs such as leadership, innovation, quality and trust. Delve into the company’s social media profiles, such as Facebook and Twitter, paying attention to how they engage with their followers, clients and employees. Look on LinkedIn to see what both the organization and its employees are sharing. Job review sites, such as Glassdoor, are useful tools to get the inside scoop about the company, such as salaries, details about the interview process, and reviews from past and present employees.
To build rapport with the interviewer
Find out who will be interviewing you, what their role is in the company, and any other information you have available to help you build rapport and connect with the interviewer.
Locate the name of the person you have been in communication with regarding the interview, or the name of the interviewer, if detailed. If this information is unclear, politely respond to the email requesting the name of the interviewer. Once you have this information, look the interviewer up on LinkedIn to find out about their professional history, position within the company, and some common interests you both share.
To be able to prepare good questions for the interviewer
Remember, an interview is a two-way street. Just as your potential employer is interested in learning more about you and your skills, you also want to know more about your potential employer, the position, the company and the workplace culture, before even thinking about taking the remote job. Asking the right questions makes a good impression on the interviewer, demonstrating your genuine interest, and shows you have spent time preparing and researching the company and industry.
Whilst you are researching the company, think about what you want to know about the organization or the job itself. If you find there are gaps in your research, take note to ask the interviewer when you get the chance. Perhaps you want to know more about the company’s culture and values, whether there is room to grow professionally, or more information about the day-to-day responsibilities of the role. Choose your questions wisely, avoiding questions which are easily answered via a quick Google search.
Make sure these research steps are on your list of things to do before an interview and you will set yourself up to be in the best possible position to begin the interview process. By conducting thorough research, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the company which, in turn, will prove your enthusiasm and interest in the role, give you more to talk about in the interview, equip you to answer and ask questions with confidence, and help you demonstrate why you are the best fit for the company’s culture.