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Make sure you do your research!!

So you've spent hours, if not weeks perfecting the ultimate CV which has impressed your dream company with the ultimate job! You followed step 2 above (Engage your potential employer) and so dazzled them with your organisational skills and professionalism but now you have agonising hours before the dreaded interview which, in one fateful hour could take all that hard work and throw it down the toilet!!

Leading recruitment authoritarian Kent Kirch says “It's really frustrating for an interviewer to have someone that they're talking to who really doesn't know the company or the position they're applying for”.

Nowadays it is expected that potential employees have some basic knowledge of the company to which they want to work.

The bare minimal homework expected is;

  • Reviewing the web site
  • Reading the company vision and/or mission statement
  • Reading the company brochure
  • Talking to people who work or have worked there

Kirch says “If you haven't done that, it can really make it uncomfortable in the interview because you're not going to understand what the interviewer's talking about or you're going to ask some dumb questions”, he states that talking to people within the organisation is your best source of finding out details about your potential employer.

Critical Steps to Successful Research


Failure to plan is planning to fail.  Employers want to know that you have done research about the company. 

Your research should include;

  • company history,
  • locations,
  • departments, and
  • mission / vision statement.

What you are looking for are clues as to what the company deems the most important to their organisation; the company website is an excellent source as well as current or past employees.

You need to be able to answer the following questions;

  • is the company a “results focussed” organisation? i.e. they talk about “bottom lines” or “meeting deadlines / client expectations”,
  • one who puts their “people first”? i.e. they talk about being an “Employer of Choice”,
  • are they a company who prides themselves on innovation?
  •  or do they pride themselves on longevity?

These all should point to what the organisation expects from a “member of their team” so you should ensure firstly that this is the type of company you feel you will be happy working for, and secondly that your presentation, both oral and image (see our section called Style, Presentation and Closing the Deal), reflects this at interview time.

Bonus research that will be invaluable to your preparations, should include;


Trust, if you have done your research and therefore familiar with the company, you will feel like you already know them which will make the interview feel more like conversing with someone you know rather than complete strangers.


Expert, Kirch states; “another thing is not really preparing for the interview itself”, he says that “applicants should sit down and think 'What are they going to ask me when I'm in that interview?'.

Based on your research, list down some questions which may be important to the company you've found (see our section below called Be Yourself in an Interview – Interview Questions for a guide).

Don't be fooled, this will not be enough to get you through an interview, for strategies on surviving interviews read our sections below, especially 'Show your true colours and Practice, Practice, Practice!').