Skills 360 – Job Interviews 3: Research

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Hello and welcome. I’m Tim Simmons, and you’re listening to the Business Skills 360 podcast. Glad you could join me. This is the third part in our 360 series on your first job interview, and we’re going to be looking at the topic of research. And by that I mean the research that you should be doing before you step into the interview. Okay, so let’s get started…

When you prepare for an interview, you want to arm yourself with knowledge in three key areas. Number one is the position itself. Number two is the company. And number three is the industry.

So, how do you find out about the position? Well, the job ad or posting is an obvious place to start. This should include a job description that lists all the responsibilities and skills required for the position. You may also visit the company’s website, or go to job websites that describe similar positions and the type of work that people with that job do. You can even try to talk to people who work at the company.

When you’re doing your research, you should be asking yourself several questions. What are the required skills and attributes for the job? What is a person in this position expected to deliver or produce? How much authority comes with this position? How does this position fit into the company’s organizational structure? Which other people in the company will I have to work with? The more you can find out, the better. It will help you to understand which of your skills and experiences are the most relevant or impressive. Your research will also help you discover things that you want to know more about, so you’ll be able to ask pertinent questions to the interviewer. Great, so what’s next?

That’s right, you need to research the company, and a great place to start is their website. There you should be able to find an overview of the company. What are their products and services? What is their mission? Who are the company leaders? What is the company’s history? From there you can search for the company in the news and learn about the latest developments. Try to figure out where the company fits in the market as well as how it differs from the competition. Dig deeper and read between the lines to understand what kind of corporate culture exists and to see what challenges the company is currently facing. During the interview, you may be able to speak about potential solutions to such challenges.

Finally, you should learn something about the industry and the market in which the company operates. There are plenty of resources online, but you can also head to the library or bookstore to browse books and magazines. Industry publications and newsletters can also help. As you learn about the industry in general, see where the company fits into the greater scheme of things. Also pay attention to trends, growth areas, external influences, and problems in the industry.

Okay, these are the three key areas of research that you need to cover before your interview. If you’ve done your homework, you will arrive feeling much more prepared and, therefore, more confident. You’ll be able to fit the interview questions and your responses into a broader context of the company’s goals. You’ll also be able to ask much better questions to the interviewer. Don’t feel that you have to pull out everything that you learned. The fact that you’ve done research will shine through in your responses and questions. And interviewers truly appreciate any effort you’ve put into your preparation. Hopefully, they are so impressed that they offer you the job…

That’s all for now. I’m Tim Simmons, and this is Business Skills 360. If you’d like to test your understanding of today’s show, please visit us online at You’ll find a quiz as well as a transcript, plus lots of other useful material. And don’t forget to tune in to our next episode, where we’ll wrap up our series on first job interviews with a great show on how to answer those particularly difficult questions that interviewers might throw at you. See you soon.

Discussion Questions

1. When you do research, where do you usually look for information?
2. Why do you think it might be important to know something about the company where you will have an interview?
3. What are some recent important trends in the industry in which you want to work?