How researching the company can pay dividends
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Researching the company
By Liam Horan, Career Coach & Managing Director, Sli Nua Careers
When going for interview, you need to know the company inside out. Knowledge is king – armed with the right knowledge, you dramatically increase your chances of carrying out a surgical strike on the company, writes LIAM HORAN, Career Coach, Sli Nua Careers.
A client of mine was seeking work as a property specialist in a legal firm that specialised in conveyancing. To further his research, the two of us read the company website in great detail to see what we could learn.
We got a few useful points that a) he really needed to know, and b) he could elaborate on in interview.
However, it moved beyond ‘useful’ and into invaluable when we noticed that the company’s once-active blog had more or less dried up in the preceding two years. Where once they had blogged approximately twice monthly, it was now down to one blog every six months or so.
In the old days, their blog posts had generated considerable comment, and, as far as we could ascertain from the chronology of the posts, were the hooks that led to the company being asked their opinion on property matters in local radio programmes and newspapers articles.
Why, we wondered, had the blog died a death? Pressure of time, someone got bored, ran out of topics? “Can’t be a shortage of topics,” my client noted, “because there are thousands of topics you could write about in this sector”.
So, after some further discussion, we decided that, in the interview, he should mention the fact that he liked writing (which he did, we didn’t make it up). And that he would be interested in contributing to the company blog on a regular basis. We felt that a company that once blogged might still believe in blogging and would be open to someone offering to do the needful.
And even if they didn’t, it still couldn’t do any harm.
You see where this is going. It worked a treat in the interview. Turned out that ‘pressure of time’ was the reason – and the company would love to see their blog revived. The interviewer mentioned the fact that some good publicity had accrued in the media when they had blogged previously.
Researching the company
He got the job. His blogging line wasn’t the only reason why – but he felt it certainly helped. It was a clear case of how proper research into the company – not just looking at the headline items – can have a positive impact on an interview.
Employers like to know you think about what they do. The ‘surgical strike’ should not be a painful experience for them. It should almost feel like the first day on the job where you are exchanging ideas, discussing possibilities and comparing notes.
The company’s chief interest is themselves. If you can talk knowledgeably about what they do, what they are planning to do and what they stopped doing, you can surge ahead of your opposition in the interview.
In my experience, most interview candidates prepare at a ‘fair to middlin’ level. They learn a bit about the company, but not enough. They know the headlines but have none of the real detail.
Throughout the interview, you should be dropping in detail about the company. Don’t wait for the ‘what do you know about us’ question at the end. Get your retaliation in first. Land the job by effectively researching the company.
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Liam Horan is a Career Coach with Sli Nua Careers, who have offices in Enniscrone, Galway, Limerick, Athlone, Sligo and Mayo, plus a full online service. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, personal statements and application forms.