What are good ways to “do your homework” and research a company properly?
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Google, Glassdoor.com, company’s website, and all their social media accounts are the best places to start. You should also read up on the company’s most recent press releases, figure out what projects they are currently working on, and get an idea about the company culture. A caveat on Glassdoor; it can often tend to be biased and have either fake reviews or unrealistically negative or positive ones. Knowing which is accurate and which is not is the real challenge.
It’s also a good idea to click on every link on their website homepage- sometimes a company will have false links and I’ve heard of at least one occasion where a company used that in an attempt to trip up an interviewee. Additionally, come in with some ideas of what projects you could do as soon as you start the position. How can you immediately improve the company? They’ll be impressed with your initiative and your ability to spell out how you can immediately impact their bottom or top line.
Once you’ve done your research and have actually landed an interview, don’t be afraid to use what you learn to really converse with your interviewer, rather than just answering their questions. You do not need to wait for the “Do you have any questions for me?” portion of the interview to start asking questions.
Interviewer- Tell me about your past experience.
You: I was involved in xyz which I think will translate well to the ABC project I saw on blank website. Can you tell me more about how I would fit into a project like that and what other kinds of projects I can expect to join in on?
Any chance you have to refer to yourself as already part of the team can be helpful – as long as you aren’t overly confident about it.