How to do your homework before a job interview

Question:

What one piece of company information stands out to the interviewer and shows that candidates have done their homework on the company?

Answer from Dana:

There is more than one piece of information you need to show the interviewer to prove that you have done your homework before a job interview. Here are the four key pieces of information to review before your interview:

1. Dissect the job description

Too many candidates show little to no understanding of the job requirements, since they haven’t read what the hiring manager wrote. Ensure that you understand every word, including acronyms. In addition, prepare notes that show where your unique experiences correlate with their requirements. Prepare to sell your attributes, including stories that will be examples of your skills.

2. Know the company’s various businesses

Spend hours on the web reading about them, and take notes.

3. Know the specific division, group, department or team that you are interviewing for

This is a sad – and true – story from one hiring interview I conducted at Microsoft. I interviewed a candidate for a mid-management position that would work with partners who were Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The candidate clearly did not do his homework, because in the interview with me, he asked, “What does OEM stand for?”

4. Know yourself

Can you answer, “Tell me about yourself,” in three short bullet points? Be prepared to tell me about a time when you filled a requirement in the job description. This is called a situational interview question – expect it. These questions are becoming more common.