What you do before, during, and after the job interview can significantly affect whether you are offered the job.

man and woman shakeJust like the purpose of the resume is to get you an interview, the purpose of an interview is to get you a job offer. The interview helps the decision-maker identify your qualifications for the position, but also assess things like personality, cultural fit, and your ability to do the job.

Before the Interview

Let’s examine things you can do before the interview to improve your chances of securing a job offer.

Before you apply for a position, you should research the company. Not only will this help you tailor your resume and cover letter for the job, it will also help you identify the real hiring decision-maker(s) — especially if the job posting directs you to apply to the human resources department.

At a minimum, you should:

  • Review the company’s website. Pay particular attention to the “About Us” page — and, if it’s a publicly-traded company, look at the information for investors. You’ll find a wealth of information about the company’s people, performance, and plans in the company’s reports.
  • Google the company. Conduct both a regular Google search as well as a search on Google News (http://news.google.com/). The Google News search will identify any recent news articles featuring the company. You can also set up a Google Alert (http://www.google.com/alerts) for the company, so that you will be notified via email when there is something new about the company online.
  • Assess the company’s social media presence. Check out their Facebook business page, company page on LinkedIn, and Twitter account. They may also have a company Google+ page, Instagram account, or Pinterest boards. Take the time to look at what the company posts on its social media accounts. This will help you get an idea of the company culture, and may give you a clue as to how the employees dress, as well as what kind of community involvement the company supports.
  • Check out the company on Glassdoor.com. On Glassdoor, you’ll be able to get “inside” company information from employees and folks who have interviewed at the company. There is no charge to join the site, but the site uses “crowdsourcing” to collect data, so you will be asked to provide information on previous or current employers to add (anonymously) to the Glassdoor database.

Also, once you have been contacted for an interview, ask for the name of the person who will be interviewing you (if it’s not the person who contacted you to set up the interview).  An easy way to do this is to ask, “Who will be conducting the interview?” You can also ask, “Will anyone else be participating in the interview?”

Make sure you get the correct spelling of the interviewer’s name. Conduct a Google search on this person, and look them up on LinkedIn. If you are going to be interviewed by a committee or group, ask for the names of all participants, if possible.

Being prepared for an interview has proved to be one of the biggest success factors for job seekers.

[photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net]