Prior to the interview, you should research the organization as thoroughly as you can. This takes time, and if you’re a senior in college, time is what you lack. But you need to do your best. If you don’t know anything about the organization, when you go into the interview, the employer will think you don’t care – that you are only after them for money. This is not a good way to begin a relationship.
So – with whatever time you have – try to discover what the organization’s products, services, clientele, location(s), previous and projected growth and future prospects are. You may also uncover problems within the organization – areas in which you could assist, or that might make you reconsider your desire to work for them. Prior to the interview, try to find out something about:
* The type of organization it is – your most basic question
* The products and/or services the organization provides, and to whom
* The structures and divisions within the organization
* The size of the organization and number of employees
* The typical entry-level positions, and typical career paths within the organization
* The organization’s profit/revenue/sales performance, and/or past history or growth
* The organization’s competitors within the industry, or (in the case of a non-profit), those organizations doing the same kind of work
* The organization’s plans or projections for the future
* The organization’s relationship with its employees, and its reputation for integrity
* Career and professional development within the organization, and training provided
* The organization’s affiliates and subsidiaries, if it is a larger corporate entity
* AND… try to know as much about the job you’re applying for as possible
This may seem like a lot of information to obtain, but there are various sources that will at least give you a start:
* The Pathways website. Check under “Weblinks to career resources” (NEC page > Student Development > Career and Life Planning > Weblinks to career resources.) Any number of links there will lead to information on specific companies.
* Company literature – annual reports, if they are a publicly held company; descriptive brochures on products and services; and so forth. Usually a quick phone call will get you these.
* Current magazines such as Fortune and Business Week, and articles in The Wall Street Journal. Go to Danforth Library and use the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature, checking in the index by company name or industry.
* It’s possible to get information on the job you’re applying for simply by asking the employer for the job description prior to the interview.
* The NEC Career Advisory Network (CAN). This is a network of over 80 graduates of NEC, in a variety of career fields, who have volunteered to provide career information to you. Ask CLP how to access CAN, or look into NEC alumni networks on facebook or LinkedIn.
Again, prior to the interview, making some notes wouldn’t be a bad idea.