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You have an interview! That's great news! Whether you applied to a role, networked with a friend or a recruiter got in touch with you, you have a chance to get on board with a new company.  

This is your time to shine! It is critical in these situations to know what you are getting into. Too many times, I have hopped on calls with candidates who looked great on paper and asked them, what do you know about our company? And the response of "not much" is like a solid punch to the gut. 

When going into an interview, it's best to be over prepared than to underwhelm because of lack of knowledge. Do your research and be knowledgeable about the big picture when you are interviewing.

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Where to start

There are plenty of ways to get up to speed about a company and who you are interviewing with. Use LinkedIn. Learn about the person you are talking to and the company you are interviewing with. Fully explore that company's website and write down some questions that may not be answered by their site. 

Glassdoor is another great reference. This can give you a lot of insight about what people think of a company. However, I always caution to take a measured approach when using this platform. People are more apt to leave negative comments here than they are to leave favorable ones. 

Ping your network and find out what they know about the company, you may even find that someone you have a professional relationship with works there, and they can offer you valuable firsthand insights. 

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Why is it so important?

Doing research is important for a few reasons. The first is that it is going to give you important information as to what the company is all about. What do they do? How long have they been doing it? Do people like working there?

This can help you to formulate good questions during the interview process. Recruiters and managers want to see inquisitive people, and it shows you are interested. Secondly, it demonstrates that you care enough to take the time to look into things. It shows a diligence and seriousness surrounding your interest in a company. If you are willing to take the time to do work on the front end, it leaves a favorable impression about the kind of employee you will be once you are there.  

Along with general research, it makes sense to research the interview etiquette as well. This includes whether the interview is skills-based or personality-based, as well as what to wear. Not every interview mandates wearing a suit, and although it's probably better to be dressed up than dressed down, why chance it? Ask your recruiter or someone in the interview process what is appropriate. It's better not to leave things to chance.

Some of this may seem like common sense. However, it's shocking how many times I jump on a screen with candidates and get the answer of "I didn't have time to look anything up," or "I really don't know much about your company," and even the dreaded "I totally forgot you were calling, but I can put some time aside if you want to talk." As professionals, there is simply no excuse for it.

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Preparation is key

As the job market is filled with more and more people seeking work, those who are most prepared are going to be the ones with the best chance of success. This will give you a leg up on the competition and give you the confidence you need to shine throughout the interview process. 

It will also aid in you in knowing if the company is the right fit for you. Candidates are interviewing companies, as much as companies are interviewing them. The match must go both ways. The more you know about the company you are interviewing with, the better the chance for a great fit and long-term success for both parties.