By Tricia Hay and David Tovey

We had to pass on bad news recently to a candidate well qualified for the job they had been interviewed for. It’s never a pleasant task to have tell someone they won’t be going forward to a second interview.

We’d asked for feedback from our client of course and it was disappointing to hear that someone we thought to be a switched on, intelligent and capable individual had made one of the most basic mistakes when applying for a job.

She had failed to research the company and didn’t ask any insightful questions. It turned out she hadn’t even bothered to follow the link we’d provided to the company web site.

 Show genuine interest

 It’s fair to assume that, when you are invited to an interview, the employer has shown interest in you. They will have read your CV carefully and prepared questions in order to find out if you are the talented person they need for their team. They may even have carried out some internet research.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes for a moment. How would you feel if the person you were interviewing didn’t even know what products or services you provided let alone any current news that was available and in the public domain?

It’s not as if researching a potential employer should be a surprise to a candidate. We’re both old enough to remember having to visit the local library, read business newspapers, visit Companies House and ask around to do our research. Today it’s really easy to research an organisation (even MI5 and GCHQ provide plenty of information) and if you don’t demonstrate a genuine interest, don’t expect as good response from the employer!

Ask insightful questions

 Judge a person by the quality of their questions rather than their answers” – Voltaire

One way to impress a potential employer and demonstrate you have done your homework is to prepare a few insightful questions. An insightful question is one related to the research you have done and it is by far the best way to demonstrate you have done some research without actually having to say you have.

Has the new product launch recently announced been well received by customers”?

Will the contract the company recently won in China mean you will be recruiting more staff”?

I understand that the company recently merged with a competitor, has this changed the business strategy

Today’s employers are very unlikely to make an offer to someone who hasn’t bothered do some research. When you are competing with others who understand this, it can be the quality of your research and questions that can be a major differentiator.

If you’d like to know more about researching an potential employer or about asking great questions or any other aspect of how to impress at interviews; contact Tricia Hay on 01453 755330.