Thanks to Google, you can find almost anything you need to know about a company before your interview.
In fact, about half of candidates research companies online before applying, The Talent Board's 2014 Candidate Experience Report found, and 68 percent of those will spend up to two hours doing so. Forty-two percent look at company values and about 40 percent learn what the company offers.
That's all helpful information for your interview, but, beyond what you can find on the company's website, there are some other often overlooked things to determine.
Before your interview, you need to have a solid understanding of who you are as a professional and what your goals are so you can tackle unexpected questions effectively.
So, here are a few areas to explore:
1. How the company's core values align with yours
It's one thing to know what a company values, but another to understand what you value as a professional. Define what's most important to you when it comes to how you work and how a team operates.
For example, do you feel every team member should pitch in to help others who may struggle with difficult tasks? Is the quality of work more important than where and how the work is accomplished?
Decide what you value and look at how that aligns with the values of the company. From that, you can easily answer questions regarding why you're a good fit for the company.
2. What current employees experience
When you're seriously pursuing a role, you'll want to have an accurate picture of what it's like to work at the company so you can understand how you might fare as an employee.
Search LinkedIn for current employees and message them asking what their work day looks like. Ask them their favorite part of their job and what some of their toughest work-related challenges are. Then, during your interview, you can refer to something a particular employee mentioned -- like a day-to-day challenge you're familiar with and aren't afraid to face.
3. How your experience will be an effective contribution to the company
Sure, your resume lists your experience, but the interview is your chance to explain how it's relevant to what the company wants to accomplish. Researching the company mission and vision will help you identify key talking points for highlighting your expertise.
Overall, thinking about how your past experience can help support the company's mission and goals will help you answer questions more effectively.
4. How the position matches your career goals
Don't forget: it's not all about what you can do for a company. Your partnership with the company should be mutually beneficial. If you haven't already, clearly define your personal career goals, and consider how the position can help you work toward them.
Employers want to know you're going to stay longer than a few months, so you'll need to communicate how the position will help you get closer to achieving your long-term goals.
5. What you need to be an effective team member
The better you know yourself and your needs, the easier you can determine what you need to perform at your best. Before your interview, think about what kind of job you need to accommodate your lifestyle. Consider things like work-life balance, salary, and schedule.
For example, if you're a morning person, working overnight might not be best for you. If you need at least $50,000 a year to make ends meet, taking a job that only pays $46,000 will create financial strain on your life, which could impact your performance. Knowing these things will prepare you to discuss and negotiate your salary and schedule.
Before your interview, don't forget to explore yourself as a professional and understand your needs. The more you understand about your goals and abilities, the more likely you'll succeed in nailing your interview.
What are some other things you should know before going into your interview?
Alan Carniol is the Founder of Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful answers that prove why they are the right person for the job. Follow Alan and Interview Success Formula on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.