Knowing that you have an interview coming up can be stressful. However, if you use the time before your interview to prepare yourself, you will likely look and feel more confident during the interview.
This lesson will guide you through different ways to prepare for an interview. It will explain how to research the company beforehand. It will help you identify appropriate interview attire and will provide you with a checklist of items to bring along with you. And it will help you both prepare to ask the right questions and practice answering the questions you are likely to be asked.
Research the company
During an interview, you will need to show an employer that you know about and understand the needs of the company. One way to prepare for this is to research the company.
In general, you want to find out:
- what products or services the company sells
- who its customers and competitors are
- how the company is doing within the industry
- what the company culture is like
- Use our Company Research Guide to gather essential information.
Don't worry if you can't find every answer to every question. You'll likely use only part of this information in your interview, but it is better to go in with a good understanding of the company. Print it out, take notes on it as you research, and take it with you to your interview.
- If you can't find information on the company's website, consider using Linkedin or another networking site to find someone who can tell you about the company.
- If you are a student or recent graduate, you can visit your college's career services office.
- If you are willing to pay for the service, websites like Hoovers, OneSource, and LexisNexis offer various types of information about a vast number of companies. If you don't want to pay, you may be able to access these websites for free through your local public library.
Other researching tips
- Drive to the interview location beforehand—preferably at the same time of day as your interview—so you can get a good estimate of how long the travel time will be on the actual day of your interview. You don't want to be late for an interview!
- The actual job description or job posting will likely contain information about the company.