Good news! Your dream company just invited you to a first-round interview. The catch? You have to convey exactly what interested you enough to apply there and why you would like to work for the company. What differentiates this particular organization from the thousands of other businesses and corporations that you could choose instead? Employers understand that students are applying to many different jobs and internships, but they still need you to give them audible proof of why exactly you find them impressive.
Saying “I really like your company culture” is not going to put you at the top of any priority list.
To prevent yourself from saying something generic or detrimental, a large portion of interview preparation must include company research. This is easier said than done, and there are several common sources that students use to research companies that include information that the employer then repeatedly hears from several candidates.
In order to stand out as a candidate, here are some different options for acing this certain portion of your interview.
- Company “About Us” Page
- Generic Browser Search (Wikipedia, etc.)
- Company Financial Statements
- Niche Career Websites (Glassdoor, Indeed, etc.)
- Major Company Events (Local or National News)
- Business Journals and Publications (WSJ, FT, etc.)
- Company Newsletters
- Career Research Tools (Vault, etc.)
- Company SWOT Analysis
- TIP – When looking at SWOT with regards to wanting to work at a particular company, focus on competition and then figure out the advantages that your specific company has going for it.
- Company LinkedIn Posts
- TIP – If you are interested in a company for a while before you even apply or get an interview, follow the company’s LinkedIn page to receive news in your LinkedIn feed. Company-related posts will (1) either reinforce or change your decision about wanting to work there and (2) give you very rare and focused responses for “Why do you want to work here?” questions.
For a more comprehensive look at the internal thinking process when it comes to researching a company or what you should be searching for, read this. A lot of company information will vary greatly among industries and you will also have to read the room during the interview to make sure you are hitting the right points. Generally speaking, different jobs and internships will also warrant very different company research techniques and ideas. Other recommendations are taking neat notes and practicing putting this information into different sentences for points within the interview, to prove that as an interviewee, you have prepared and are very enthusiastic about this specific company.