Before heading to an interview, it is essential for a communications professional to conduct research about the company. This step is crucial in today's highly competitive job market, where standing out from other candidates is vital, especially when it comes to in-house roles. By understanding the company's values, mission, products or services and culture, you can showcase your knowledge and enthusiasm for the role, making a positive impression on potential employers. It may sound obvious but the person who secures the job will have always done their homework.
A good place to start is by researching or organisation’s historical background. Find out when the company was established and by whom. This will give you insight into the company's age, legacy, and founder's vision. Look for key milestones and achievements that have shaped the company's growth and success.
Next, familiarise yourself with the company's products and services. What are their core offerings, and how do they contribute to the company's revenue? Have they recently launched any new products or services and how has the market received them? Understanding the company's product portfolio will help you grasp their business model and strategic direction.
Another crucial aspect to consider is the organisation’s market position and competitors. Where does the company stand within its industry? Who are its main competitors, and what is their market share? Analysing the competition will help you understand the challenges they face and how they differentiate themselves in the market.
Start by getting familiar with their mission, vision, and values. These elements define the company's ethos and goals and can give you a sense of whether the organisation aligns with your own values and aspirations.
Analysing current and past employee feedback can help you form a well-rounded opinion of the company's culture. Perhaps take a look at employee reviews on Glassdoor. Look for common themes and pay attention to both positive and negative comments. By considering a range of perspectives, you can get a more comprehensive understanding of life inside the company which can give you an idea of whether you think you would be a good fit.
Look at the company's commitment to corporate social responsibility and environmental sustainability practices. Do they prioritise reducing carbon emissions and promoting eco-friendly policies? Are they involved in local community initiatives or charitable partnerships? Evaluating these aspects can help determine whether the company's values align with yours and whether you would feel proud to work for them.
In the UK, public companies are required to file annual reports and accounts, which provide valuable information about their financial situation. These reports include details on revenue, profit margins, expenses, assets, liabilities, and cash flow. By analysing these documents, you can gain insight into a company's financial stability, growth prospects, and overall health.
Companies with a clear strategy for growth, a strong presence in their respective markets, and a solid understanding of customer needs tend to perform better over time.
Staying up to date with recent news and press releases can be really helpful when researching a company before an interview. This helps you understand the company's current projects, partnerships, and challenges. Look for articles featuring the company or its executives in relevant publications such as The Financial Times, BBC News, the Telegraph, Daily Mail, Reuters, Bloomberg.
Industry trends can significantly impact a company's operations and future plans. Research the latest developments in the company's sector, including technological advancements, regulatory changes, and shifting consumer preferences. By being informed about the developments and challenges the company faces, you demonstrate your interest and preparation, making a positive impression during the interview.
Preparing for common interview questions helps in showcasing your skills and qualifications to potential employers. To start, utilise your research of the company from the suggestions above. This will help you formulate thoughtful responses to questions like "Why do you want to work for us?" or "What do you know about our company culture?"
Additionally, prepare insightful questions to ask the interviewer, such as "Can you tell me more about the team I'll be working with?" or "How does this role contribute to the company's overall strategy?" Finally, practice displaying your knowledge and experience by highlighting specific projects or achievements that demonstrate your skills and qualifications. By being well-prepared, you can confidently navigate the interview and make a lasting impression on the interviewer.
Check out employee profiles on the company’s website and on LinkedIn to see their backgrounds and job responsibilities, which can give you an idea of what the company looks for in potential hires. Follow the company's LinkedIn page, X account (Twitter) and Facebook account (if they have one) to stay up to date on their latest news and announcements. These platforms can also provide a glimpse into the company's culture and work environment. By leveraging social media and professional networks, you can gather valuable intelligence.
Some companies will base their interview questions around their company values and ask you to demonstrate evidence that you have these qualities. It’s worth looking at their website to find out what the values are. Pay attention to the language used and the tone conveyed, as this can give you a sense of the company's personality and attitude.
Additionally, reading the company blog and listening to podcasts or interviews can offer valuable insights into the company's attitudes towards industry trends, customer needs, and employee engagement.
With these final preparations complete, you'll exude confidence and exhibit your dedication to the role, leaving a positive impression on the interviewer.
By dedicating time to research the company, you demonstrate genuine interest and investment in the role. Remember, it's the little things that count, and going above and beyond in your research efforts shows that you have what it takes to excel in the position. We wish you all the best preparing for your upcoming interview and hope that our guide has provided helpful advice for your research journey!
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The Works Search: a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and are known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.