If you read any of the blogs or funny stories on the internet about the people who show up for their interviews late, or wearing inappropriate attire, or being rude or clueless, you’ve had a laugh and probably think to yourself that you’d never do any those things.
Yet when you do show up on time, dressed appropriately, and ready for the interview, are you really prepared?
Too many people show up without doing their homework.
Bay Area employers, especially Silicon Valley firms, tend to be a bit different from employers in other parts of the country. They are more demanding and expect their candidates to know what they do and how you will help their mission.
“Tell me what you know about Clorox.” This is a pretty innocuous and safe question, but what do you know about Clorox? Too many times good candidates get tripped up here because they didn’t do any basic research on the company or its leaders. The recruiter or interviewer will think you are either stupid or arrogant, neither one a good thing.
So here are five things you can do easily to prepare for your interview and impress your interviewer.
1. Google the company (and actually read about it!) Also check Wikipedia for the summary and statistics (When founded, industry, number of employees, who the leadership team is, etc.)
2. What’s the current stock price (and what was it 1, 3 & 5 years ago?) While you may not be asked about the financials, it’s impressive to know some of the basic market trends and if the products or services offered are increasingly in demand or declining (they are a really good DVD/CD manufacturer today, but the future is limited to streaming and on demand, providing dim long term prospects for the company)
3. Do a LinkedIn search on the company. Two things will come out of this:
One – you’ll get real time information on the employees including the current job functions, years experience, educational degrees and universities attended. You can also see what companies many of the current employees came from (see photo).
Two – and more important – you can see who works there who is in your network, or someone who is in your network that knows someone who works there. Contact them and ask about the culture, working environment and if they know your interviewer.
4. Do a Google and LinkedIn search on your interviewer. While it may seem a bit creepy to snoop, you can bet they have already done that on you. Also, people who join LinkedIn are there to find people and be found (isn’t that why you joined?) so it is actually encouraged to learn as much as you can through the service. You may discover that you went to the same high school or worked for the same employer or some other tidbit that will make you memorable after the interview.
5. Have a list of questions about the job and the company. Companies hiring today are looking for people who can solve their problems. Craft questions that show you are an indispensable problem solver (and, by the way, that you know quite a bit about their company from the research you did in items 1 through 4.)