How to swot up for your interview

Job Interview


I have written a lot about how to prepare yourself for an interview and questions you might be asked, what questions to ask at the end and even what to wear. More recently we had some clients ask us how to research the organisation they are applying to.
I have heard of interviewers conducting quick fire rounds like a game show to test a candidate’s knowledge of the company. So it is very important to be prepared and do the research. This should also help you respond to ONE of the key questions most potential employers ask: Why do you want to work here?So where should you research?

The company website

This the best place to start. However, do not lift information and just memorise it. That is not likely to show you understand the company and hence is not very impressive. Have a look at the following:

  • Look at their recent blogs and company updates and see if there is anything applicable here you can use
  • Look at their corporate social responsibility (CSR) page as this could in an interesting talking point in the interview.
  • Find out what other vacancies they are recruiting for within your area and see if there is a trend appearing, such as a restructuring, growth or new customers etc.
  • Look at their management team and any customer information such as testimonials or numbers. Also look at their products or services.

Press activity

Is the company, their competitors or their industry being mentioned a lot in the news? This may be something you can use to gain a further understanding of what is going on in the company

Social media

You can find out a lot about the company, tone and personality via their social media and this can assist you during the interview. Look at all their available channels.

You Tube

This is particularly important if you are going for a marketing position so check out their past and present adverts.

Financial information (see Companies House if not publicly available on their website)

This will be very important for those within the finance industry, but make sure you are aware of things such as Turnover, Operating Profit, Capital Investment and whether there is growth or a reduction and why.

Other things to consider

  • Visit their stores if they are that type of business and try to think why they do in areas such as layout, colour scheme, and atmosphere etc
  • Look into their competition a little and understand who they are
  • If possible speak to someone you know who has worked there

Conducting this research will not only assist you in gaining an in-depth knowledge of the company, it will also allow you to assess if this is the company you can see yourself working for.

Now you have done all the research, you should have a rough idea of why you want to work there so jot down some of the key things, like “potential for career progression”, “fast growing company”, “going through significant change and challenge and I want to be part of it” and “it has a great reputation and I like what I see”. Just be genuine about it and don’t give stock answers!

Good Luck!

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is a leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  Emma has over 10 years experience in recruitment and employment related services covering a wealth of industries. Having been a professional employment consultant for several years, she has provided professional advice covering everything from professional CV/LinkedIn writing, effective job searching, interview skills and preparation, presentation techniques, and general professional coaching.

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