You know interview research benefits your job search and career in many ways.
For instance, when you research the company you’re about to interview with, you:
- Look more prepared in your interviews
- Ask smarter questions
- Might find out they’re not the company for you
- Can answer, “What do you know about our company?”
Time — the Biggest Research Constraint
You understand the benefits, but sometimes you don’t have time to do company research.
In a perfect world, you would assemble a complete dossier on the organization, its industry, its products, its performance, its executives, etc.
In the real world, your boss needs you to finish a report, you still need to prepare to look your best on Zoom, and your son needs help with a school assignment.
Beyond using Upwork (not an affiliate) to hire someone to do your research, 2 Google tools quickly help you get great company information.
Google News for Interview Research
The first tool is Google News.
Here’s how to use it:
- Type the company’s name into your Chrome search bar (example: Kaiser Permanente); hit return.
- Select “News.”
- Click on “Tools.”
- Click on “Recent.” I chose “Past month.”
Google instantly showed me how Kaiser has shown up in the news over the past month. The screenshot above shows the first 3 results; there were more.
You can see a couple of topics you might mention in an interview:
- How has COVID affected your department? What’s your biggest challenge right now?
- I saw in the news that Kaiser is moving to the cloud. What opportunities and challenges does that create for your team?
You can do that much research in seconds and still look light-years ahead of most of your competition, who didn’t do any research.
Second, there’s Google Discover. If you don’t use it, you will be amazed.
What is Google Discover? It’s Google’s personalized news feed for smartphones. I’m convinced it reads my mind.
If you don’t have it installed on your Android device, iPhone, or iPad, click for instructions on how to activate it.
Google will then use its vast spy network to watch your activity and decide what news to show you. Look for the feed below Google’s search field on your mobile device.
That’s handy, but it gets so much better (I hope LinkedIn is listening).
How to Train Google Discover
You can train Discover to feed you interview research by:
- Searching on the company’s name per the above.
- Then, when posts about the company show up in your Discover feed, “heart” them to tell Google you like the content.
You can also turn a topic or source off:
- Click the 3 vertical dots to the right of the heart icon.
- Pick your best choice from the “not interested” and “don’t show” menu.
I research many of my clients’ companies while writing their resumes. After that, I immediately notice more articles about the companies as I scroll through my Discover feed.
Thus, while Google News can help you get ready for an interview 2 hours from now, Google Discover will help with meetings a few days or weeks out.
You can also use it to learn about companies and people that intrigue you long before you decide to apply for jobs with them.
Interview Research Differentiates You
While this article doesn’t describe thorough company research, you will be able to use what you read in your interviews without looking like you’re winging it.
You’ll differentiate yourself because very few candidates do any research – even for C-level jobs.
Gary Burnison, the CEO of Korn Ferry, the largest retained search firm in the world, reports that he likes to ask this interview question:
“So, tell me what you know about our company and the position you’re seeking.”
He repeats what I said above:
“It’s astounding how many people can’t give a straight answer to this one.”
Still don’t believe me? Check out Godfrey’s comment below about how quick, simple research helped him land a job.
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Featured by: Career Sherpa
Updated May 2022
© 2015 – 2022, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, authors all of AvidCareerist’s posts.
She is a Fast Company Contributor and has written for and been quoted by 100+ business and general media outlets, including Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, CNBC, the New York Times, USA Today, Time, US News & World Report, CBS, the BBC, Lifehacker, Social Media Today, IT World, and Business News Daily.
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