Can you pass 100% of job interviews and get hired everywhere? No! But you can drastically improve your chances of succeeding in a job interview by doing the right research first. It won’t take you long, but Angela Guido walks us through the 4 major areas of research you need to do to maximize your chances of success in a job interview and, importantly, what to do with that information.
With the New Year around the corner, there are A LOT of interviews for jobs and MBA programs waiting for those who want to change or accelerate their career. If this is you, we’re here! Let us know what topics we can cover to help you achieve your dreams!
Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:
There are four really big pieces of things that you need to know about a company to help you stand out and make an impact on your interviewer, convincing them that you are the right person for this job. Welcome back to Make Mondays Better! I hope you've got a job interview you in your future because that means you're ambitious, you're reaching for the next thing, you’re, trying to find the opportunities that give you the most chance to grow and the most chance to have an impact. Today I'm going to tell you the four key pieces of research you need to do before a job interview to stand out. And believe me, it's maybe not the same things you thought you were supposed to do. I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol. I'm a Career Coach. I'm an MBA coach. I've helped thousands of people get their dream jobs by acing their interviews. Today I'm talking about research that you need to do before you show up for that interview.
1. Understand Their Corporate Values
The first thing that you need to know about any company before you even submit your application. Honestly, this first piece of research is something that should be a gate for you before you apply for any job, and that is understanding corporate values. You need to know whether this company's values align with your own. It begins with self-awareness. It begins with understanding what's important to you. What kind of impact do you want to have? What kind of negative impact do you want to avoid? What kinds of cultures enable you to thrive? Do you like working in an environment that is a steep meritocracy, where you will advance based on your own abilities and hard work? Is it important to you to be in a collaborative environment where there's a lot of extroverting and working with your peers to get stuff done versus sitting in your office alone and crunching numbers in a spreadsheet? Do you want a combination of those two things? How do the people in this company treat each other? How do people advance? How does information flow and how do the politics work? Some of these questions are going to be hard to answer from the outside. The easiest place to start is to just google [company name] corporate values, and look and see what the company is saying they are expressly committed to. Some other terms to google are [company name] corporate philosophy, [company name] guiding principles, [company name] mission statement. These are all terms that will get you to the materials that the company has put out about their express corporate values. But I recommend that you don't stop there. Take a ride over to glassdoor.com or transparentcareer.com and read what current and past employees of this company have said about their experience working there. Sometimes what companies say about their values is not the same as those values live in action. The last thing you want is to end up in a toxic corporate culture of which there are many out there in the world. So, take the first step and determine what are the corporate values and how well are they aligned with your own. Do that before you even apply. But if you've already done that, then you are 25% of the way there to doing the research you need to do before your interview.
2. How Is The Company Positioned?
The second big and really important piece of research that you need to do before any job interview is to understand how your company is positioned vis-à-vis its top competitors. So this means you need to understand, very simply, what is the product or service that this company is offering and to which customer base. Then you need to know what other companies are serving that same customer base with similar products or services. This is something that really a quick google search will give you, [company name] top competitors. So I really recommend that you use the four Ps framework of marketing to build your basis of understanding. The four Ps are: product, price, promotion, and place. So consider how is the company you're interviewing with pricing its product, promoting its product, and where is it promoting its product? Who is it reaching out to? And then compare that vis-à-vis its top competitors. You might want to have an opinion about pricing, promotion, and place. For example, do you feel like one of your firm's competitors is doing a better job of promoting its product? That would be a good opinion to have and something you might want to talk about intelligently in the interview. Situating the company within its market just gives you a baseline familiarity with the challenges that this company is up against, vis-à-vis its competition, that will inform some very thoughtful conversations about how you can contribute, about what the company has planned in the coming years, and how you're going to be able to have an impact in your role.
3. What Is The Company’s Interview Process?
The third thing that you need to research is one that you've hopefully probably already done and that is just, again, open up your browser and type [company name] interview process. You need to know what to expect in that interview. Are they going to subject you to multiple conversations with multiple stakeholders? Will there be a technical component to the interview? Is it a panel discussion? Is it a team-based discussion? Will there be a case? Will you be asked to solve a problem in that interview room live on the court? You need to know what to expect to get a job at this company. The earlier you are in your career, the more valuable information Google will give you about the interview process. The further you are into your career — if you're post-MBA or many years in and you're applying for an advanced managerial position — the Google search may not give you what you need. You may need to get insider information from people who already work at the firm or potentially even from the human resources person who is coordinating your interview process. Get as much information as you can about what to expect in that interview so that you're ready for whatever it is they're going to throw at you. That one was probably the most obvious.
4. How Do You Stack Up To The Job Description?
Fourth and finally, the research that you need to do to prepare for any job interview is to understand how you stack up to the job description. So this is research that's more about you than about the company itself. So, if you haven't already, watch our video about how to decide if you are good enough for this job. In that video, I go through a detailed process to size yourself up against any job that you're applying for. You need to do in-depth research on where your skills and experiences line up with the expectations of this role so that you're ready to talk about where you're strong, where you're in the middle, and where you might be weak vis-à-vis the expectations of this role, so that you can proactively tackle any questions about your readiness for this specific job.
So that's it! Those are the four big pieces of research that you need to do before any serious interview: understand corporate values; understand how the company is positioned vis-à-vis its top competitors in its market; understand what they expect of you in the interview; and be ready to talk actively about how you line up against the expectations of this job. If you can do all of those things, you will already be doing much more than the majority of your competitors in the interview process. If you are smart and efficient with your research, you should be able to tackle all of that in half an hour to an hour at most. It should be a heat-seeking mission to find the information that you need to be ready to perform in that interview. Best of luck! I will see you next time on Make Mondays Better.
Sign up for a free career strategy call right here:
The 2-hour Job Search by Steve Dalton is a MUST READ if you’re looking to boost your next job search! Learn why in this episode of #MakeMondaysBetter with Angela.
Discover the 3 leadership skills you will undoubtedly need for any job or MBA program to build the foundation of a successful career in this video.
Still believe that happiness comes after success? Think again, friend. Discover what it takes to be truly successful and learn to be happy at work.