learn new work skills

You’ve waited anxiously to be invited for an interview by a certain company after submitting your resume, attaching the cover letter you spent hours writing and revising. When the company’s hiring manager asks you to come in, you’re ecstatic! YES! You’ve done mock interviews with friends, tackled the really tough questions like, “what’s your greatest weakness.” You have the perfect professional outfit pressed and ready. You make sure to research the route you need to take to get to the office on the day of the interview so you can plan for any obstacles that might make you even the smallest bit late. You feel great and just know you’re going to get this position.

The hiring manager greets you with a smile and a handshake. You sit down in the chair across from her desk prepared to blow her away with your amazing interview skills! “Why are you interested in working here at (Company), specifically,” she asks. And your mind draws a blank. In all the time you spent preparing for the interview and going back and forth with the perfect answers to make them hire you on the spot, you forgot to consider this question might come up. “Because I’m really passionate about not starving to death” may be a funny and trendy answer, but it won’t show that you’re serious about the position. So, how do you tackle this without sounding like you’ve no idea what you’re talking about?

When preparing for interviews, people often forget that researching the company you’re looking to work for is essential. Besides having a firm understanding of the position you’re applying for, knowledge about the company shows that you’re thoughtful and that you aren’t just applying to any open positions anywhere. Here’s a few really easy ways to research the company you’re interested in, even just before the interview!

  • Check out their website. It’s 2017; you probably had to go to their website to submit your resume anyway. If you have limited time, check out the “About” section, which can usually be found either at the very top or very bottom of the website. This will give you basic details like when the company was founded, their general mission statement, and what they strive for. It may also make mention of any big changes that’ve happened recently. If you have a day or more to research and prepare, take notes! Go a little more in depth on their website; cruise the “About Us” and “Contact Us” sections, as well as company news. If there’s anything on their website about the company brand or culture, note what you feel it is they stand for, as well as some questions you’d like to ask.
  • Google. You found the company website and got some good info you can use in the interview. If you’re on a short time frame, do a quick Google search of the company name. That’ll bring up any recent or interesting news about the company, which could include relevant financial information such as recent lay-offs or bankruptcies. If you have more time, check out as many links that come up for the company as possible. Find out different events they’ve been involved in, if they work with any charities, what major players on their team have done or said. All of this will not only give you a good answer when speaking with a hiring manager, but you can determine if it sounds like a company you’d enjoy working for.
  • Check out the company on sites like LinkedIn or Glassdoor.com. If the company itself isn’t on LinkedIn, you can search for people who list that company as their employer. You can skim through their job titles and get a general feel of the people who are employed there. It may also be worth checking out how long some of those people have worked at the company. Employee tenure says a lot about the type of company it is --- often, the longer employees tend to say, the better you can assume the company treats their employees. Glassdoor.com is also a good place to search what employees and other people who’ve interviewed with the company have to say. Though the reviews are subjective, the information provided by people who choose to do reviews, there can be a trend you notice in the reviews that may give you some information about the company you couldn’t glean from your previous searches.

By the time you’re done with your research, whether a quick look on your smartphone or a lengthy project you’ve been working on for day, you should have a concise idea of why you want to work for that company that you can bring up in the interview. “I recently read an article about your company and how it works to combine sustainable environmental policies with leading research (or manufacturing or advertising or whatever your field of interest)” sounds a lot more thoughtful an answer than “because I want to pay my bills.”