Interview research with Google

2 Best Tools for Interview Research

You know company and interview research benefit 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 full 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 help you get awesome company information quickly.

Google News for Interview Research

The first tool is Google News.

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Type the company’s name into your Chrome search bar (example: Kaiser Permanente); hit return.
  2. Select “News.”
  3. Click on “Tools.”
  4. Click on “Recent.” I chose “Past month.”

Like this:

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:

  1. How has COVID affected your work? What’s your biggest challenge right now?
  2. 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.

Google Discover

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 feed you below your device’s search box.

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:

  1. Searching on the company’s name per the above.
  2. When it shows up in your Discover feed, telling Google you want to see more results like that.

I screenshotted the item at the top of my current Discover feed to show you where to find the “More” button:

Google Discover more

You can also turn a source or topic on or off:

First, click the 3 vertical dots next to the “More” button in the screenshot above.

Then, shift your gaze to the screenshot below.

  1. Click “Follow” if you want to see more posts about the specific topic Discover presents to you.
  2. Or, tell Discover you aren’t interested in that topic. That keeps your feed clean.
  3. You can also eliminate specific media outlets.
  4. There’s more to managing your feed, but it’s beyond the “interview research” scope of this post.

How to customize Google Discover

I research many of my clients’ companies while I’m 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.

Or check out these 2 research tips to make sure you even want to do the interview.

Image: fizkes
Featured by: SmartBrief and Career Sherpa
Updated February 2021

© 2015 – 2021, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.

Comments 4

  1. This! I always find time to do any kind of research AND use it in the interview process. First, for my sake, to make sure I fit in this culture and can work in an org that does what it does … Secondly, to be able to ask and answer with some knowledge. This is a great way to at least get some info to do just that.

  2. I have learned from you to do research on a prospective company.

    Just plan a couple questions to let them know you are aware and proactive.

    While waiting at the reception desk at one company, I spied a current internal memo about a matter concerning the company and the state legislature. Quickly, I googled and also found a newspaper article with more juicy news, before the interview.

    I sure surprised the General Manager as I used that most current issue in our conversation!

    Got the job. Beat the heck out of age discrimination.

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