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Jobseekers, there’s really no excuse: Research before your interview

Updated: 14 Apr 2016


Researching a company before your job interview isn’t about standing out anymore. According to recruiting experts Hays it’s about keeping up and staying on the shortlist.  

 Not so long ago job seekers who wanted to stand out in an interview were advised to research the company and interviewer,” said Christine Wright, Managing Director of Hays in Asia. “You could use your research to determine which examples of your work you should share when answering questions and any sentence starting with ‘I saw on your website...’ was sure to impress. 

 “Today however, not researching the organisation and interviewer sees you stand out for all the wrong reasons. In our information and social media age, where information is so readily available, there’s really no excuse for not doing your homework,” she said.

 Hays warns job seekers against thinking they can bluff their way through an interview. “Interviewers know when you’ve failed to do your research,” says Christine. “It’s there for all to see in answers that are not personalised or in the work examples you cite that aren’t 100 per cent relevant to the role, the organisation or its clients.

 “Other tell-tale signs of a failure to research include asking a question you would already know the answer to if you’d looked into the organisation and team, not demonstrating how your skills could add value to the organisation, and not understanding the vacancy’s role in helping the organisation achieve its objectives.”

So how can you research an organisation and what should you look for? Hays shares this advice:

·         Social media: At the very least you should search for the organisation and your interviewer on LinkedIn. Follow them on we-chat, weibo and other relevant channels so you are up-to-date with their latest news.

·         Online search: Search for the organisation and your interviewer online.  Just like your social media research, you are looking for information about the organisation. This could include recent executive-level appointments, expansions or new products or services.

·         The organisation’s website: An organisation’s website will give you more detailed news and – crucially – insight into its culture.

 “From your research you’ll gain an insight into the organisation’s culture,” said Christine. “For example, its website may emphasise its meritocracy in which case you could share examples of how you were promoted for consistently exceeding your objectives. If it emphasises teamwork, you should share examples that show you work well in a team.  

 “You should come to understand the organisation’s products or services and its objectives. Find out which organisations are its main competitors and see if you can gain an understanding of what challenges the organisation is currently facing.

“You’ll be able to see if you are connected to anyone who has worked at the organisation, in which case you can talk to them for more insights about the company.

“And you’ll also be able to note interesting points you can ask about in the interview,” she said.

A word of warning

But while you want to use your research to inform your answers don’t overdo it.  “It’s perfectly acceptable to tell an interviewer you read about their recent product launch and thought it was done very well, but don’t start telling them what they could have done better,” says Christine. “Critiquing the organisation won’t go down well in an interview!

“Instead, use the information you uncovered to prepare appropriate examples of your work, previous performance and way you work that show your interviewer you are the very best fit for the organisation and role,” she said.

In China Hays operates from four local offices: Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou and Guangzhou.

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About Hays

Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. It is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people worldwide.

Hays Specialist Recruitment Japan KK ("Hays") is the largest foreign recruitment company in Japan and operates across the private sector, providing services for permanent recruitment, contract and temporary roles, RPO (Hays Talent Solutions) and IT Solutions.  Hays has been in Japan for more than a decade, and boasts a track record of success and growth.

Hays is the only foreign recruitment company in Japan to operate specialist business units composed of professionals with experience and expertise in the sectors they cover. Hays Japan’s thirteen specialisms span Accountancy & Finance, Banking, Finance Technology, Human Resources, Information Technology, Insurance, Legal, Life Sciences, Office Professionals, Property, Sales & Marketing, Supply Chain and Manufacturing & Operations.

Hays is also the only foreign recruitment company in Japan to operate four local offices, serving the Kanto region from 2 offices in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kansai from central Osaka.

Hays Japan is the local representative office for Hays plc, which is a global company. As at 31 December 2014 Hays employed 8,748 staff operating from 244 offices in 33 countries across 20 specialisms. For the year ended 30 June 2014, Hays placed around 57,000 candidates into permanent jobs and around 212,000 people into temporary assignments. 24% of Group net fees were generated in Asia Pacific.

Hays operates in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE, the UK and the USA.