The two types of research to do before an interview.

19th Aug 2019
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The following is an extract from “The Career Doctor” a book by our Managing Director Eoghan McDermott.

Well in advance of the interview itself, you can set yourself up for a win by doing two kinds of research. One aspect of research will give you a good sense of the kind of company to which you’re applying. Their history. Their track record. Their brand. Their reputation. Their products and services. Their culture.

This matters. Now, let’s be honest: it may not, right now, matter to you. You may be so desperate to get gainful employment that you’d happily sign on with Vlad the Impaler and not be that bothered by the details of impaling. But it matters to Vlad. Each company regards themselves as unique – even if they ‘re in the same kind of business as other companies – and they want job applicants to yearn to work, specifically, with them, not just see them as one of a line of possible and equally acceptable employers. So learn the company before you pitch up in front of an interviewer as a possible future employee.

The second kind of research, in one sense, is simpler. It’s working out precisely what is required by the job. In many cases, the advertisement will carry the necessary details, but in some cases, it will also carry an indicator that further information is a) available on their website or b) can be forwarded to you on request. Any extra information you need is on a complete job specification. When you have the advertisement and the job specification in front of you, isolate each and every requirement listed. Each one of them represents a keyhole into which you must insert a key.

This preparatory work is an essential – if tedious – part of your job interview preparation, because, long before you sit down in front of them, you must be clear about precisely what the interview panel need in the person they select. You must understand the key skills or competences required for this position.

Once you know what the employer is looking for and have broken down the list of skills you need to do the job, then you have some hope of preparing for an interview, so that you can prove you can do it under pressure in a short space of time.