So you’ve got an interview for that job you really want, and you need to be as prepared as possible. But where to start? Don’t worry, there may be an overwhelming amount of information out there, but it’s easier than you might think to find the facts you need!
Our pre-interview checklist will guide you through finding the relevant information. Start with getting an overview of the company, its strengths and weaknesses, products, competitors and financial performance, and then build up to explore an industry’s future and the latest relevant news:
1) Start by getting an overview of your prospective employer by downloading its latest Company Profile. Simply go to MarketLine and search for the company on the home page; each profile offers company history, a list of competitors, SWOT analysis, and more.
2) Find out what’s been said about them in the news by searching Factiva. Using the free text search at the top of the page, you can find articles related to an individual company or topic. Narrow the parameters of your search to articles published in the last year, month, or just the last 24 hours. Too many results? On the next page, you can also narrow the search by industry, geographical region, or even language and author. Each summary tells you how long the article is, and you can download a selection of articles to read later by selecting the box next to each item.
3) For some roles, you might also want a snapshot of the company’s finances. The easiest way to get one is through Capital IQ (get login here): search by company name, and click ‘Quick Report’ to get a tearsheet for the company. The links along the left-hand side also offer a company summary, financials/valuation, overview of key people, company business relationships and news. Mergent offers similar information, and is a good source of data for private companies.
4) For in-depth broker reports, try Investext. Enter the company in the search box and be sure to select ‘name’ before searching (as default, it searches by ticker). A variety of reports by different contributors (including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC) on a wide range of topics and general markets are often available.
5) It can be important to gather some industry data to contextualise the activities of the company you’re interviewing with. For broader industry and market reports, including competitor analysis and data on the overall performance of a sector, try IBIS World. Enter the industry area in the search box, or expand the menus to see the range of available reports. Alternatively search by company name. Results will point you towards market reports or relevant report sections. Market reports offer information including industry background and SWOT analysis, global outlook, current issues and consumer trends. If you are researching an international company, it can be useful to also check out Passport and EMIS Professional for further reports.
6) Don’t forget, you can browse a great collection of careers-related books in the Information Centre to help you right from the start with how to look for a job, through to specific interview preparation. Find these on the right as you enter.
Finally, it’s great to be clued up on all this information to really impress your interviewers, but remember that forming an opinion on a company, its products and current issues within the industry is equally important. Try to use this invaluable research to shape your own views.
So, after all that, are you interview ready? Check!