Smart ways to research a company before the interview

Company research is the best way to learn about what a company does and what they look for in a candidate. This research will help you be better prepared to answer questions which will help give you an interview edge over the other candidates. It is critical to have significant knowledge about a company so you can make a good impression on a potential employer.

At a base level, you can read through the company's "about" page to learn more about the company. However, there are a few more things you can do to learn specific details about the employer or person you are interviewing with that will really show you did your investigating.

Company Blogs: A good place to start your research is by reading the company's blog. Blogs can be a great place to learn about an organization's culture/personality, the type of work they do, and possibly learn more about their employees. While reading through blog posts, take notes on anything you feel is worth mentioning or asking about in the interview.

News and Recent Events: When you go into a job interview, it's always a good idea to be knowledgeable about the company's latest news and updates. Most companies have a page on their website dedicated to press releases, events, community involvement and achievements. By reading through this information you will learn more about the company's history and growth. You will also be more prepared to answer any questions that the hiring manager might ask about current projects they are working on.

Social Media: Social media is a great way to learn more about an employer's culture and see what they say and share online. This is a place where you might find good inside information you wouldn't find anywhere else. Most companies will have links to their social media accounts right from their website. Be sure to check them all!

The Interviewers: If you were not given the names of the people you will be interviewing - ask. Then do some simple research to find out information about those people. If the company site has a search tool, use it to search for the names of the people you'll be meeting. You may find bio pages or press releases that give you insight into their most visible activities at the company. Then look to LinkedIn to get more background information about them. You might find some common ground you can bring up in conversation, or a recent professional achievement for which you can pay a compliment.

What is the best way you can use the research you've done for the interview? Besides being better prepared to answer questions about the company or having some great questions for the interviewer, you can point to research you've done by saying something like, "I saw _________ and I love it". Learning about the company is also great for tailoring your interview examples and highlighting things that you see in the company that are commonalities with you and areas where your expertise could be useful.

What if you can't find any information on the company? In the interview you can say something like, "I'm really interested in the company and excited to learn more. Is there anything you can tell me about__________". You can also say, "I'm normally able to do research about a company to find some insightful information, but wasn't able to find much about (company name). Can you tell me more about ____________?" That can be a great conversation starter and connecting point. People love to talk about where they work.  Once they start telling you about the company, you can connect the additional information they give you to your experience.