Researching the Organization
In your efforts to plan ahead and be as ready as possible, it's important not to overlook your awareness of the organization and who will be interviewing you. Not only does this give you a chance to assess the company for yourself, but if given an opportunity to share what you know about the company, you will stand out for having done your homework.
WHAT TO RESEARCH
Their Mission, Vision, & Values
If all you do is pull up the company's website, you'll already be ahead of the game. Navigate to their About section and find their mission statement, any listed values, core beliefs, and the general history. Pay particular attention to keywords, repeated phrases, and mottos.
What the website displays is indicative of what the company finds important in their culture and what they will be looking for in you as a candidate. It may not truly be who they already are, but these statements do speak to whom they want to become. Your goal in this research is to become informed enough about the company's values so you can converse and ask questions about them.
Their Current Events, News, Projects, & Major Clients
While still on their website, navigate to any information about general products and services. Familiarize yourself with key offerings, and see if you can find any big announcements or recent press releases on the website. Pay attention to any big projects, key clients, or items that might generate good conversation. Expressing curiosity about these subjects may make for a great topic of small talk before your interview "officially" begins, and indicates to your interviewer(s) that you're knowledgeable of present events.
You may even go a step further by browsing the organization's social media accounts for news articles or commentary on major, current or upcoming projects.
Their Leadership & Interviewers
Finally, equip yourself with some knowledge about your interviewers and who is leading the company. Start by familiarizing yourself with the name(s) and brief bio(s) of senior leadership. Simply knowing the names of the CEO, president, or VPs (and even better, being able to recognize them) will make you stand out. Next, familiarize yourself with those who will be interviewing you, if you know ahead of time. Check the website for a bio, and see if you can find them on LinkedIn. You may discover shared interests or experiences that may help you build rapport.
The Inside Scoop
By simply taking the time to do a little research, you will equip yourself to answer questions about the company and have informed conversations about the organization. By referencing what you've learned and expressing curiosity about current events, your interviewers will see that you're more aware of and serious about the position than the average applicant.