Hilary recently graduated from University of Northern Iowa with a bachelor degree of advertising. She is currently interning at Disney Interactive as a Campaign Operations Assistant in New York City. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, kayaking and reading.
Like many of the college undergrads, it takes a lot of failed interviews before finally obtaining an ideal internship. Through my personal experience, I realized the primary reason why I failed in the interview is due to preparing poorly which I wasn’t able to leave an impression to interviewers. Expressing your interest in the position and company without showing the interviewers how much you know about their business and industry is ineffective. With that said, the key to ace an interview comes down to the preparation.
An adequate preparation for an interview can’t be done without thorough research on the company background, job description, qualifications and the industry. I would used to do by browsing online and through Google search. As an undergrad, I would be occupied with my courses, assignments, projects and activities that gave minimal time for research. Thus, I have found this method to be extremely tedious and inefficient. It is not only time consuming, but also it doesn’t provide key information on particularly what I want to know.
The biggest challenge of researching a company is how to find the most relevant information with constrained time. There has to be a better way! Here are some tips and tools I have found helpful when researching about the job and the company being interviewed for:
Other than the company’s website and social media profile, there are many more useful sites available to help college students research the company in a more efficient and effective manner. One that I personally use a lot is Glassdoor.com. You can consider it as a social media site for interviewees and as an employee. It is where people share their working and interview experience with the company. This site is a perfect tool to provide you with insider info into how it looks like in working for that company, especially when you lack a connection to obtain advice.
Another great tool I highly recommend is Hoovers.com. It is an online database that provides industry information and company profiles. Beyond that, the site compiles all the latest articles of the company you want to search for such as press releases, social media posts and blogs. With these articles, you can gain great perspectives about the company and its industry without spending hours digging through a broad Google search. You can also sign up for Google Alerts that monitors and generates the latest news about the company results through email based on keywords entered relating to the prospecting company. It is a perfect way to stay abreast of what’s happening within the company. Can you imagine how impressed the interviewer would be when you’re able to talk about their fiscal report or to speak their language?
There are many great tools out there to help you search the company. You might then wonder: “Are there any tools I can use to find out information about my interviewer?” Of course there is! LinkedIn is the perfect tool to obtain knowledge about one’s professional background. Not only can you view their working experience, but also you can generate a sense of their role in the company. Moreover, if you find out you guys both went to the same alma mater or lived in the same city, you can take advantage to make the interview more interesting and effective by communicating a common interest that leads to a good, lasting impression. In addition to pointing out, as most people aren’t comfortable when they’re searched online, you may want to use this method subtly. You want to come across as showing relevant interest in others rather than being perceived as an Internet stalker.
All the tools and tips mentioned above will help you conduct a efficient and effective research about the company and give you knowledgeable insights to ace the interview. Benjamin Franklin once puts it, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” If you try out these ideas, you will definitely find yourself having a successful interview with tremendous confidence.