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2 Research Tools to Use for Interview Prep

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During one of my years in college, the Board of Governors was conducting a search for a new president, and I sat on an informal student panel to give them insight into what the student body wanted from the next campus leader. We held sessions with each of the candidates, had a chance to ask them questions, and formed a general assessment of how we the students would feel about having this person run the college.

Out of the three candidates we heard, one stood out. And the reason he stood out was because he had researched the college, was familiar with the work of some of the students sitting on the panel, and was clued in to the latest news about the college and the issues confronting it. His intentional research prior to the interview showed a level of respect for our college and a desire to be hired for the job.

Dave Johnson over at CBS MoneyWatch makes a similar point when he writes: “A smart job hunter arrives at a job interview equipped with knowledge that makes the whole interview process easier.”

In other words, he has done his research.

Johnson then lists five of “the most common and fruitful resources you should investigate when preparing to go on a job interview.” Here are the first two:

1. Company website

The company website should always be first on your list of research tools, he writes. “Check out the customer-facing part of the site, and scan the press area, as well.”

Most of the time, if you’re being interviewed by a hospital or larger healthcare organization, just about everything you’ll need to get a sense of the company can be found on their website. Sometimes, just the appearance of the website itself and the content or lack thereof can tell you about the organization’s savviness in communicating with the public.

2. Google

Google or the web browser of your preference, he writes, “is a great way to track down not just general information about a company, but also news, corporate history, and more.”

Maybe the organization has been getting bad press lately. You should know this going in. Maybe it has some expansion or construction projects of note that are going on. Maybe the organization just made another prestigious hire. Knowing what the media are saying about it can give you much-needed insight into the organization’s standing within its community.

These are the first two tools you should use before surveying anything else in your research. Between the company website and Google, you should receive most of the answers to your questions about the organization. And you should also get some ideas about questions you’ll need to ask on the interview.

In our next post, we’ll look at the three additional research tools you can use. In the meantime, have you ever gone into an interview unprepared and having not done proper research into the organization? How did this affect your performance and the questions you asked during the interview?

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