About to interview for a job with a new company?  Do your homework!

This is a very wonky job market.  The majority of companies are hesitant to hire and people are staying put in their current jobs.  The rate at which people are quitting is currently very low.  Holding onto a mediocre job seems to be more important than career advancement.  If you find yourself out of a job, you are not alone.  Companies big and small are laying people off right now.  In this environment, it can be quite disheartening to apply for job after job and hear little to nothing from the companies you applied to.  If you do land an interview, you need to bring your A game to that meeting.  What does that mean?  It means you had better do your homework on the company and the hiring team to make the best impression during the interview.  Here are my tips on how to do this research.

Review the job description:  The job description was written either by the hiring manager or by a personnel professional.  The job description will give you a basic overview of the role, and often give you information about the company.  Make sure you read this over prior to your interview.

Go to the company’s website:  Check out the website.  Look at the various pages, including jobs and people at the company.  You can often find a profile of the owner or executive team and hiring managers.  You may get insight into how they treat their employees, what type of hierarchy they have within the company, and how organized they are.  Typos, cobwebs on their social media posts and broken website links can all signal the state of the company.

Google the company, the executives and the hiring manager:  Doing some rudimentary searches on the company, news stories of the company or the top employees can really shed light on the state of the company and sometimes on how they treat their employees.  Look at social media posts too.  Getting this type of intel can be very helpful when you are interviewing and negotiating an offer.

Check public filings:  If the company you are interviewing at is publicly traded, pull up their investor relations, earnings estimates and related documents.  It is a great way to learn how healthy the company is.

Talk to current and former employees of the company:  This can be a goldmine of information.  If you know people who are working at the company, or are past employees, ask them how it was to work there.  Caveat:  If someone left the company on bad terms, they may trash talk the company.  Take their comments with a grain of salt—it could be their own performance issues that caused them to lose their job.  But it could also be very revealing about issues employees have to deal with at the company.

Now, review your resume, dress for success and get to that interview early.  Greet the interviewer with a smile and firm handshake.  Be ready to talk about yourself and your work accomplishments.  And be ready to ask them questions that came up from your research. Having done your homework about the company and the team shows that you are serious about this job, and a top contender for the position.  Good luck!

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