To make it as easy as possible, we’ve compiled a research check list to make sure you cover all the bases. Don’t forget to download our handy graphic (below) too.
1. Their website
The organisation’s website should be your first port of call. It should be a treasure trove of information on what they want you to know. On top of this, it’s how they want to present themselves. Make a note of how they describe themselves, their tone of voice, and their choice of images – are they modern and creative, with a sense of fun, or are they passionate about what they do in a corporate environment? Tailor your approach with this is mind; is formality key or would something a little bit more creative be better?
Key pages to check out: About Us / Who are we, What we do, Staff, News.
2. Their social media channels
Next stop is their social media channels, covering everything from Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and anything else they have. What are they talking about, who are they interacting with? Again, as well as gathering information, this gives you the opportunity to get to know the organisation’s personality, from their posts and how they interact and engage with their followers. This builds on what you learnt from their website and should help inform your CV, application and interview approach.
3. Their recent news stories
As well as the news stories on their website, check out their most recent media coverage. What is the media saying about the organisation? Make a note of recent developments, including new products, services, recent appointments and any charity or community work they’ve been doing. These will make good talking points and great for your question arsenal. You might also find out some sensitive issues you may want to avoid talking about.
Head to Google News and search your organisation’s name and their top people.
4. Their competitors
To take your research a little further, extend it to their competitors. Who else works in a similar market, competing for the same customers? Who do they benchmark themselves against? This will help you understand their position in the marketplace, but also appreciate what makes them different, their Unique Selling Points (USPs). Knowing this will be music to your interviewer’s ears.
5. Their industry experts
Actively seek out more general industry news to build on your knowledge and understanding of the sector the organisation works in. Read up on trade news and find experts and leaders in that field on social media channels to keep up to date with the latest developments. Find relevant groups on LinkedIn and contribute to these - this will get you noticed in the industry. Being able to talk about key issues and trends within their sector will give you a better understanding and build confidence for meeting face-to-face.
You won’t need all the information you read, but knowledge is power, and will put you in good stead to create a tailored application and feel well prepared walking into an interview.
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(Right click to download)