Getting the most from a job interview

Candidates who make the effort to research the relevant company and industry impress employers and stand out from the herd. Research will produce questions and discussion points – an essential and often overlooked part of the interview process

Preparation will also go some way to banish pre-interview nerves. But most importantly, research will help you to establish whether a company or industry can match your needs and ambitions.

Follow this advice to help you make a positive and memorable first impression:

  • Start with the basics and read the company’s own material. Look at their website and get a copy of the annual report. This will give a clear picture of the firm’s products and services and its strategic direction


  • Get information from our jobsite, the national press and relevant trade journals about the company and its competitors. Find out what role the company plays in its business sector and where it stands in relation to competitors


  • Make a note of important facts, such as share price history, pending mergers and acquisitions, or changes in key personnel. Ask yourself what is special about the company, how it differs from its rivals


  • Find out about the key figures in the company and industry. You will begin to see a pattern of the abilities and temperament required to succeed. Notice also which skills are in demand – engineering, accounting, marketing?


  • If possible, come up with original ideas that could add value to the company


  • A company’s philosophy, often captured in a lofty mission statement, may differ from the day-to-day reality of working there. To get a better understanding of a firm’s culture and reputation, talk to friends or relatives who work in that business sector, or who can put you in touch with people who do. You could also identify and make direct approaches to individuals who work in the industry in order to find out more. This is a good opportunity to establish useful contacts and get names of other people to talk to – but don’t be tempted to ask for a job there and then

You will now be in a much better position to show that you understand the needs of the company and to demonstrate how and where you can contribute.

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