When you’re looking for a job, the interview process is your time to shine, highlight your strengths, and call out your accomplishments. But you shouldn’t be the only one answering questions. It’s also your time to learn as much as you can about the company and the position you want. We spoke with Misty Gaither, Indeed’s Senior Director & Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, to get her tips on the best way to prepare for an interview to make sure you get the most out of the experience.
Before you sit down with the interviewer, it’s important to do your homework. Gaither says you should collect as much information as you can about the company and the state of the industry. You should also have a working knowledge of the company’s leadership structure. “Find out who they are as individuals and anything they’ve done in the past – in a non-creepy kind of way, of course,” she says.
A lot of the information you need is readily available online. But Gaither cautions that you can’t trust everything you see. “Stick to credible sources like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Fishbowl and Indeed for your research,” she says.
Making sure the company’s mission aligns with your values can help you identify whether or not the job is right for you. Review their mission statement, organizations they are involved with, and read online company reviews from past and present employees. “It’s important to understand why you want to work for the company because you spend so much time working there every day. Having a connection to the mission will keep you motivated on some of your toughest days,” she says. Gaither says she knows this first hand. She started her career in the tobacco industry, but she was never a fan. “Looking back, I recognize the difficulty I had there because that critical element of connection to the product was absent,” she said.
It goes without saying that you should be familiar with the products or services the company is known for. But if you already have a personal relationship with those products, Gaither cautions that you should stay objective rather than go into the interview with a glamorized view of the company. “It’s one thing to consume a product, but it’s a very different experience to work for the company. You may go into an interview looking to confirm all of the wonderful things you think you know when you should be doing a thorough job of evaluating the opportunity,” she says.
At the end of the interview, you’ll likely be asked if you have any questions. And Gaither says it’s best to make sure you have a few in mind ahead of time. If you are exploring positions at more than one company, Gaither suggests going into each interview with a consistent set of questions to help you identify consistencies and differences between each company’s responses along the way.
Coming up, we talk to Misty about ways you can use the interview process to find out if the company is the right fit for you.