Avoid this common interview mistake!

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As you all know, recruiting season is in full swing!  I’ve seen a LOT of interview feedback over the past few weeks, and one of the common themes that is emerging is that students are not doing enough research on the companies they’re interviewing with.  “Knew nothing about the firm…”, “questioning interest due to lack of knowledge of company…”, and “should have done more company research beforehand…” are real examples of feedback provided by employers who have conducted on-campus interviews this fall.  Not surprisingly, students who received this feedback were not invited to second round interviews.

Not knowing enough about the company is an easy mistake to avoid.  To start with, study the company’s website – there is really no excuse for not doing this!  Make sure you can answer the following questions, as a baseline:

  • What does the company do – what product(s) and/or service(s) does it offer?
  • Where are its headquarters and additional locations?
  • How big is it? How many employees does it have?
  • Who are the major competitors? How does this company’s philosophy differ from those of its competitors?
  • What are the current trends and issues impacting the industry?
  • What is the company’s status (public, private, non-profit) and financial health? If the company is public, keep an eye on the stock price.  Did you know you can go to the Trading Room and pull an analyst report from Bloomberg?  How helpful is that?!

Take your research to the next level and reach out to Bentley alumni or personal connections you may have who work at the companies you’re interested in.  Current employees can offer great insight on what it’s REALLY like to work at a particular company (think company culture and perks, management style and philosophy).   And if they’re in a comparable position to the one you’re interviewing for, they can shed some light on the day-to-day responsibilities and interview process.

Good luck with your upcoming interviews, Falcons!

By MaryEllen Ryan
MaryEllen Ryan Senior Associate Director, Pulsifer Undergraduate Career Development Center MaryEllen Ryan