One of the most important things to do before an executive interview—whether it’s over the phone or in person—is to research the company. Not only does this alleviate anxiety by making you more prepared, it shows that you:
- Take initiative
- Use your resources effectively
- Care about the meeting and the open position
- Know how to prepare for optimal performance in a high-stress setting
Asking questions is an important part of an interview, but you’re better off doing as much research as possible to either answer your own questions or inform more impressive inquiries. Here are a few of the most important topics to research before sitting down for an interview.
1. THE COMPANY’S CORE VALUES AND CULTURE
This is a key component to knowing if you’ll be a good fit at the company. Most companies post their mission, vision, and core values on their website. You can also read through the copy on the page to find underlying themes that tip you off to the top values.
Peruse the company’s social media accounts, too, including any company-sanctioned accounts dedicated to the team. Can you find evidence of special committees, events, or other employee engagement activities? Even photos of the staff that reveal the dress code could be a good indication of the company culture.
2. TOP EXECUTIVES AND BOARD MEMBERS
Using the company website, LinkedIn, and a basic Google search, research the company’s top executives—especially the ones with whom you’ll be interviewing. Learn their backgrounds, specialties, and how long they’ve been with the company.
Not only does this give you an idea of what kind of people excel in the company, it can strengthen your ability to make interesting small talk and even forge connections with the people you meet in interviews.
3. COMPANY PERFORMANCE
Go online to find the company’s earnings and other financials, if available—it could be more difficult or impossible to find this information for a smaller or privately-held company.
There are other ways to track company performance, however. For example, you could look up local or industry awards the company has won to see how progress is trending.
4. RECENT NEWS PLACEMENTS OR COMPANY UPDATES
Some company websites have a portion of the website dedicated to press or news, which would show recent updates or newsworthy achievements. You can typically find this information on social media, too.
To stay on top of updates as they happen, create a Google Alert for the company’s name and any other relevant terms. If the company has a newsletter or blog subscription, sign up and read the emails.
5. INDUSTRY NEWS AND COMPETITORS
Spend time researching the industry, especially if it’s not one you’re currently working in. Read local, national, and international news related to it, and pinpoint specific challenges its facing. Trade publications are an excellent resource for this type of research, and subscribing to the website’s newsletter can be beneficial.
Additionally, research top competitors in the space and come prepared to discuss what they’re doing, should it arise in conversation.
RESEARCH IS EASIER WITH A RECRUITER
When working with an executive recruiter, you have an “in” with an expert on the company. Recruiters are an excellent resource because it’s their job to have in-depth knowledge about the companies they partner with.
Want to work with an executive recruiter? Submit your resume today.
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