The Career Spectrum Blog

Why You Need to Research a Company Before You Interview

Posted on: January 25, 2010

In high school, I hated biology. So when we had a test in the subject, I’d show up, try to apply common sense from all those programs I watched on television, and hope for the best.

Well, as you can imagine, my plan backfired on more than one occasion, and my grades weren’t where I wanted them to be. Moreover, after I completed the first quarter of the school year and I learned that biology was the one subject keeping me off honor roll, I was upset.

Then I had a heart-to-heart with one of my teachers, a woman who taught creative writing (one of my favorite subjects). She told me that if I prepared for the biology exams, I could overcome my disdain for the subject and conquer it.

Yeah, yeah, I knew that. I mean, it’s elementary, yet when it came to studying for biology, I would have rather sat in the dentist’s chair for a root canal.

What does my experience have to do with today’s topic of researching a company before interviewing? As an interview coach, I see so many people who when they are contacted for a job interview not prepare for it that they unknowingly sabotage their chances of being hired – even if they’re the best candidate for the job!

Witness one exercise I do with some of my clients whom I detect through the DISC profiling assessment as being someone who is a little “too laid back” for their own good. When I set up a mock interview, I tell them they’ll be interviewing for a position with a random company that I Google to make sure that the organization has a web site and that there’s enough information out there about the company for the go-getter to find.

Ok, great. They are excited, or maybe they’re just anxious to get the practice session over. But when they “show up” for the mock interview, there’s one area I always flag, and that is their lack of research and study about the company.

This, dear readers, is a big “no-no.”  I can’t tell you how many times someone has taken a job with a company only to leave it because the person discovered that they just weren’t a good fit for the organization, whether it be due to the company’s policies, politics, or some other reason.

This is why it’s CRITICAL that before you trot off to your next job interview, you do everything you can to research the company. By showing an interest in the organization, you’re sending a far more positive message that says, “I’m really interested in your organization” vs. not caring and sending the message that “I don’t care what you company does or believes; I just want to be paid.”

Put another way, an interview is like taking an oral exam, except there are no right or wrong answers. What the interviewer is looking for is passion, competency, interest, and commitment.

The stronger your presentation, the more likely you are to leave a favorable impression – and be called back for a second interview.

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