Friday, April 18, 2014

On interviewing for a job: Learning about the company and its people

No, I'm not interviewing for a job.  I'm writing this entry, which I expect will be the first of an on-again, off-again series, because over the last several years I've come to believe that despite all the available information, an amazing number of people fail at the basics in a job interview. 

One of those basics is that if you haven't done a lot of easy research before an interview, you've already blown it--or at least hurt your chances.  This preparation is easy, though it does take a bit of time. 

You should begin by going to the Web site of the company and reading a lot of its pages.  Learn about its products, its culture, its marketing, and its team.  Check out all the social-media venues in which it's active.  If it has YouTube channel, spend a little time there, too. 

If you're greatly interested in the company, consider doing basic searches on the names of the people with whom you'll be meeting.  Between Google and LinkedIn, you can often learn a lot about your potential colleagues and employers.  I'm not suggesting stalking or obsessive digging, mind you; just basic preparation.

To my surprise, an amazing number of people either skip this work or go to a company's home page and stop.  You can learn some information that way, but so much more is available that it's foolish not to take advantage of that information.

I'm not suggesting you do this, by the way, so you can suck up to the interviewers.  I think it's important because it helps you have as much context as possible for what you see and hear in the interview, and also so that you can make an informed decision about whether the company interests you. 

This is really just today's version of an old bit of advice that still applies to job-hunting (and to many other areas of life):  Do your homework.

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