They say the devil’s in the details but the truth is your next job is too. Whether you’re looking for a promotion with your current company, a new gig with a different company, or even a contract position you future can be made (or broken) on the littlest of details. While the big things like being on time, being prepared, and dressing appropriately are often what we focus on, paying attention to the smallest details will set you apart.
One of my first college professors talked about this all of the time. I don’t even remember her name but I remember the lessons about making sure our shoes were polished, knowing what fork to use, and arriving prepared. In addition, she spoke about knowing small details about the company and the person you were interviewing with. In the late 80’s and early 90s that was much harder to do than it is today. Thank God for the internet! Google should be your BFF during a job search! Today we have no excuses for missing important details due to lack of research. Here are a few things everyone should know before going into the interview:
- How long the company’s been in business & what they do. As an interviewer, if a candidate asks me this during an interview, I’m going to end the interview at my earliest opportunity. Your BFF google will have told you that in your first 5 minutes of research. If the basics of our company aren’t important enough for you to learn you don’t have a future with our company.
- How long the interviewers have worked there and what they did before. I’m not suggesting stalking the hiring manager but a quick search through Linkedin will tell you about their history with the company. Googling the person’s name and company will also provide you links to their history. Be careful not to make the interviewer feel like you’re obsessed with them by commenting on the pics of their kids you saw on twitter.
- Where the company is located. You always want to ask which office or location your interview will be in. What you should already know when you arrive however, is how many offices they have and where the home office is located. I once worked for a company with 19 different offices and yet people would assume our home office is the only office we had. Those people never made it to round 2 of the interview process.
- What social media sites the company frequents. Follow the company on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest. Go to their website and see what social media sites they list or search for them on your favorite sites. Keep up to date with the info they’re sharing and you’ll quickly understand their corporate culture. Once you understand that you’ll be able to talk about why you’re a good fit for the organization.
- What causes the company’s involved with. A quick scan of the company website as well as their social media sites will tell you what causes their involved with. This information gives you the opportunity to relate to the interviewer on a different level than other candidates. Perhaps you were at a Breast Cancer Charity Walk they sponsored or you volunteer at the NPR station they support. Whatever the cause, you’ll impress your interviewer by knowing about it and demonstrating you’ve taken time to research the company.
- What awards, acknowledgements, etc the company has received. Companies have egos just like people do. They appreciate the awards and acknowledgements they receive from outside sources and want you to also. Again, Google is your BFF here. Companies will often list their awards on their websites and social media pages too. Don’t know what a certain award means? Do your research and find out before you mention it in an interview.