When going in for a job interview, being prepared for situational, behavioral, and skill-based questions is essential. But perhaps you are asked “what do you know about us?” or, “what about us made you interested in being part of our company?” The ability to answer these questions with accuracy and depth may be the determining factor in acing an interview and securing the job. To ensure you are well prepared for upcoming interviews, here are six things you should know and understand about a company preparatory to a job interview:
A mission statement describes a company’s purpose and what they strive for as an organization. Within this short statement, a company relays to the public and stakeholders what it is that they do, why they do it, and in what way. Companies use their mission statement as a foundation for developing goals and strategies. Not only do mission statements allow you to understand more about a company, but it can also help you determine if it is the right fit for you. If their mission does not correlate with your aspirations, another organization may be a better fit. So, understanding the mission statement of a company you are interviewing for is indispensable- not only for answering potential questions, but determining a match.
Values are fundamental beliefs used by companies in establishing their activities. Company values are typically reflected in every aspect of a business, from customer service to training for new employees. They are also used to determine how to manage internal and external environments. Typical values include integrity, teamwork, adaptability, and respect- although they may differ based on the organization. It is vital to be aware of the values upheld to ensure you align with them. If so, knowing a company’s values and how these are reflected in their work is useful for answering why you desire to work for them.
An organization’s culture entails the “expectations, experiences, philosophy, values that guide member behavior, is expressed in member self-image, inner workings, interactions with the outside world, and future expectations” read The Business Dictionary. The culture within organizations is ever-evolving and can be a mix of achievement, adaptability, stability, and involvement culture. The overarching purpose of company’s culture is to ensure employees and the company’s purpose match, resulting in better performance and productivity. Culture varies based on the needs, values, and desires of an organization, which may differ from your needs, values, and desires. Ultimately, awareness of organizational culture will allow you to tailor your responses to questions, express your capability to enrich an organization, and may serve as guidance in determining if a company is a suitable destination for you.
Knowing the history and legacy of an organization is expected of candidates as it reflects how an organization may have created their mission, value, and culture. Internally, “history is key to understanding change in context, corporate culture, and governance while being used to enhance the corporate structure, operations, growth, and profitability,” stated senior analyst and instructor Behram Gill of LinkedIn. Understanding a company’s past allows employees to use it in the present to improve the future. Due to this, companies are reluctant to hire candidates that aren’t familiar with their history, as “new hires are extremely talented but often lack historical context, which can present challenges as they join a new organization,” stated Behram Gill of LinkedIn. Thus, knowing the corporate history of an organization may perceive you as a more knowledgeable, favorable candidate.
If you aren’t already familiar with the product and services offered by a company, that is where you should start. Being aware of the products and services would provide you with an introduction into bestsellers, newly offered products, and services related to work you may perform when hired. Awareness about a range of their commodities gives you the advantage and opportunity to demonstrate and communicate your ideas related to their products and services that you could implement once hired. So, familiarizing yourself with these is vital when gathering information on an organization, and will be useful to you in an interview.
News and Recent Events
Keeping up with news and recent events about a company you are interviewing for will show them that you genuinely want to work for them. If they have just released a new product/service or announced a new partnership, mention that within the interview in addition to why you think it was a good move- ultimately demonstrating that you are invested in their activities. Employers look for candidates who appear to seize opportunities, so, as stated by Matthew Tarpey of CareerBuilder, “coming in with an understanding of industry conditions, recent moves or changes made by the company and other relevant events is a great way to show the interviewer that you’re serious about the position.” Inform yourself about recent events and news about the company, then strategically display this knowledge during your interview.