#10. Top Ten Interviewing Mistakes: Lack of Company Research
You will not believe the amount of students that walk into the interview room without truly knowing what the company does. “The company is a consulting firm” is what students will tell me, but what kind of consulting firm are they? Are they strategy, litigation, human capital, health care? The list can go on and on. Students also forget to answer one of the most important questions of all: “Why this firm?” Every company will ask you this question because they want to know if you have a passion for the company and if you’ll accept an offer if they extend one to you.
Do your research before the interview room
The company will ask you “Why this firm” and you need to know exactly what it is that makes them stand out to you. If you can answer the following questions in a clear and concise manner, then you have done your company research well:
1. What industry is the company in?
2. What does the company do?
3. What separates the company from its competitors?
4. What is the culture like?
5. What are the differences between each area of the company?
Make sure that you are able to clearly and concisely articulate your answers. You need to give a simple, succinct answer.
When is my company research complete?
The best way to gauge if you truly know what the company does is to be able to explain it clearly to a friend who has never heard about the company. If you can explain what the company does in less than 1 minute and your friend completely understands you without a doubt, then you are ready.
Most importantly, you need to know what separates the company from its competitors. What does the company pride itself on? If the company is a mid-tier firm, then it prides itself on its company intimacy and high level of responsibility. If the company is a big four, then it prides itself on its enormous reach into many different industries and its company perks (sports games, Disneyland outings, philanthropy projects).
The Q&A Section
Doing your thorough company research will also help you during the Q&A section at the end of your interview. Ask questions about recent company news because it shows that you truly have an interest in the company and want to know about its financial future and goals.