Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interviews: Practice (AND RESEARCH) Makes Perfect


‘Tis the season of interviewing!  This fall the Career Services Center has been hustling and bustling with employers seeking to hire Marquette students for internships and full-time positions. Are you ready?
The key to a successful interview is both practice and research.  Last week, Joel O'Brien discussed how to practice for interviews using behavioral based questions in his blog post How to Become a Star InterviewerCheck it out for some excellent tips!  Today's post focuses on the other element of interview preparation – research.

The bottom line is that employers expect that you will arrive to the interview with knowledge about their company.  Learning about the organization demonstrates your interest, showcases your ability to research and also shows initiative.  In addition, investigating the company helps to prepare you for interview questions such as: What do you know about our company?   Why do you want to work at our company?  Tell me what you know about our organization. Why would you be a good fit for our company? 

There are many rich sources of information about organizations.  Here are a few ways you can investigate a potential employer prior to your interview.

  • Review the organization's website and news releases.
  • Use your network on LinkedIn (or otherwise) to identify contacts who work for the organization.Then reach out to these individuals to get an inside scoop on the company.
  • Look the company up in Reference USA a database of over 12 million organizations.
  • Create a Google News Alert so that each time an employer appears in the news you receive an email with links to these news stories.
  • Join industry groups on LinkedIn to stay abreast of current trends.
  • Follow the company on Twitter.

Suggested areas of research include:
  • Recent news surrounding the organization
  • Corporate culture
  • History of the organization
  • Types of products/services offered
  • Reputation
  • Locations
  • Size and organizational structure
  • Philosophy
  • Prospects for growth or change
  • Major competitors
  • Promotional activities
  • Current industry trends/issues
  • Mission and vision of the organization

With ample research, in addition to practice, you will be ready to impress as you interview this fall and beyond.

For one-on-one coaching on how to prepare for an interview, consider scheduling an appointment in our office:  (414) 288-7423.

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