One of the most common causes of failed job interviews is the lack of research. Knowing how to showcase your assets is top priority, but just speaking about yourself won’t get you the job. Interviewers like to see candidates who place their qualifications and skills in their company’ context and who can demonstrate the kind of value they will offer to their future employer.

Don’t hesitate to research your potential employer before the interview; you’ll be better prepared and you will create a common ground more easily.

Many questions that you may be asked can be easily answered when you’ve done your homework. Here is what you should find out about the company before reaching its premises:

• Research the industry first!
If you are not familiar with the new field you want to enter, you need to educate yourself on that specific industry – how money are made, what skills are needed, what the latest trends are, and what challenges professionals deal with.

• Find the bare minimum about the organisation
There is no such thing as knowing enough about an organization, but you can start with its products and services, its values, its divisions and their roles, and the company’s current direction. Keep one thing in mind all the time: your background and abilities should match job requirements and organisation values.

• Work environment
This topic is particularly important because your job will be the place where you’ll be spending a good part of your time. You may need to speak with current employees to find out more about the company’s corporate culture. Other things you should ask are how people get promoted, if innovation is encouraged, if there are any opportunities for professional development, and if there is a dress code. These will matter a lot when you become their employee.

• The company’s financial status and reputation
These aspects are crucial too; your job safety, the long-term impact on your career and your professional reputation depend on your employer, so be careful about the work offers you accept.

• Inside details
There are some things we all want to know before the interview: the hiring process, customer reviews, salary figures, and potential threats. If you don’t know anyone from inside, a searching tool like Glassdoor will tell you which companies to hunt and which to avoid.

• Your interviewer
Did you know that interviewers often make decisions based on their intuition and affinity with your profile? You can’t get someone to like you if you are not compatible, but finding out more about the person you’ll be interacting with will make it easier to start a great conversation. Checking their LinkedIn profile will show you what the person’s position in the company is and what interests you share.

What matters the most, eventually, is getting hired by a company which is a good fit for you. Pre-interview research enables you to find out whether you are compatible with a potential employer or not, and make the best decision.