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Preparing For the Job Interview

Memorizing good answers to typical job interview questions is not enough preparation for the job interview. Why? Imagine three people sitting in a lobby waiting to be interviewed for the same job. One of the applicants has spent several hours researching the company and its industry. The other two have not done any research at all. Who stands the best chance of getting the job? The person who lets the interviewer know he has done his research. Spending three, four or even more hours to prepare for a job interview is recommended by career experts. You should become familiar with the company, its products or services, its competitors, the industry in which it operates, and decide how your skills will benefit the company so that you can answer interview questions, such as “Why do you want to work for us?” “What do you know about our company?” “How can you benefit our company?” If you do this, your odds of beating out your competition increase dramatically.

Do Research Before the Interview

The best way to start researching a company is simply to type the name of the company into the search form at a major search ­engine such as google.com, or if it is a big company, go right to the Web site: www.nameofcompany.com. Once you know more about the company and its industry, you can better match your skills and qualifications to that company’s needs. Now you are ready to prepare for those tough jobs interview questions.
If the company is small and doesn’t have a website, try to learn more about the industry in which it is situated so that you can speak ­intelligently about current trends and problems in that industry. ­Although even small companies usually have a website these days, if you need to go to the public library and find out more about the company then do so.

Topics to be Researched

When researching a company, you should know the answers to the following general questions before you show up for the interview:
  • How old is the company? How large is it?
  • What are its products or services?
  • Who are its customers?
  • Who are its major competitors?
  • What is its reputation/industry standing?
  • What are its new products or services?
  • What are its short- and long-term goals?
  • How has the company resolved problems?
  • Have there been recent employee layoffs?
  • Where is the company’s headquarters located?
  • What are the backgrounds of the managers?
  • What training programs are offered?
However, if you are to be interviewed for a higher management post, you need to know about the organization on the following lines:
  • What is the business strategy (often the hardest piece of information of all to acquire and analyse) and though if it’s not in the public domain how can you be expected to work to support it?
  • The key projects, on which the future growth is being based
  • Use of technology in terms of new products and services
  • How planned new technologies will impact on sourcing?
  • What customer needs the organization is most anxious to meet?
  • What abilities and skills—technical or managerial—are being regarded?
  • Where is the investment being made?
  • What competitors are most admired/feared and what is it that they do that this organization doesn’t?
  • What customers they would most like to gain?
  • What legislation could impact on business and how?
  • Where are the jobs growing and shrinking?
  • Which functions and individuals seem to have the most power in strategic decision making?
  • What are the priorities of key decision makers?
  • What could be expected of you on short-term and long-term basis on the post you are going to be interviewed?
MYTH: You do not need to fully understand the job offers in advance, do it after clearing the interview.
FACT: No, as fully understanding the details of a job offer is critical in order to negotiate the terms of employment. Job offers should be received from an employer in writing before a candidate negotiates or accepts an offer.

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