Prepare for your job interview by researching the company and its leadership team, and identifying their pain points

Nick-KossovanAn interview is your chance to showcase your skills, how brilliant you are, blah, blah, blah … none of which is impressive. I’m interviewing you because your resume and LinkedIn profile convinced me you can do the job. Like all hiring managers, I’m interviewing you to assess fit and reason.

I’m impressed by candidates who demonstrate they understand what they’re getting into. Such candidates are few and far between. They researched the company and me, liked what they found, and were excited about being interviewed.

When interviewing, what you speak to is critical. That is why I recommend the following steps for preparing for an interview:

  1. Research the company and its leadership team, especially the person you’ll report to.
  2. Consider why you want to work for the company. Is it because of its products, services, mission statement, dominance in the market, or something else?

    job interview preparation

    Photo by Amy Hirschi

    Related Stories
    How to portray confidence in a job interview

    Know your numbers to elevate your resume and job interview

    Five power moves you can try in your next job interview


  3. Identify – you may have to make an educated assumption – the company’s pain points. Reflect on how your skills and experience can address some of them.
  4. Think of at least one genuine reason you’d like to work for the person you’d report to. Most likely, it’ll be because of their professional reputation. It could also be because of their skills and abilities – learning from “the master” – or maybe you attended a keynote speech they gave and thought, “I must work for this person!”
  5. Throughout your interview, be ready to speak to B, C, and D, which speak to the two factors that influence hiring decisions:
  6. Reason, and
  7. Ego

Understandably, interviewers want to know why a candidate is interested in the job and the company. Hence, they ask, “Why do you want to join our company?” or “Why do you want this job?” Most candidates struggle to answer this question.

Aside from a steady paycheck, possible motivations for wanting to work for a particular employer or job could be:

  • to level up your career.
  • to utilize newly acquired skills.
  • to challenge your skills and expertise with an international company.
  • to be a part of something that makes a social difference.
  • you’re a user of their products/services.
  • they’ve over 8,000 Google reviews averaging 4.8 stars.
  • they’ve won ‘Best in Class’ awards for five consecutive years.

Having a few genuine reasons for wanting to join a company is important. The company may not be suitable for you if all you can think of is, “They pay well.” Getting up in the morning is much easier when you feel aligned with your work and employer.

Next, consider the company’s pain points. Every job exists to solve a problem (revenue generation, market share, brand reputation, customer experience, efficiencies).

Ask yourself what problem(s) the job solves holistically. Usually, this can be summarized in a few words.

  • Inside Sales Rep: Maintain and increase revenue by promoting and selling the employer’s products and services.
  • Accountant: Monitor the employer’s financial health and ensure compliance with tax laws.
  • Social Media Manager: Post content on social media platforms that promote the company’s brand(s) and offerings.

These jobs address employers’ most common pain points: revenue generation, managing money, and brand recognition. Now, do a deep dive into the company’s specific pain points.

When interviewing for a position overseeing a call centre’s operations (Call Centre Manager: Create a caller experience that’s as seamless as possible), I’ll call the call centre several times. Then, I’ll discuss any “issues” (pain points) I encountered with my interviewer, which they’re often unaware of, and how my skills and experience can resolve them.

“Over the weekend, I called your toll-free number several times. On average, I waited almost five minutes. What’s your average time to answer? What’s your abandon rate?” After my interviewer answers, I share a STAR (situation, task, action and result) story of how I had reduced a call centre’s abandon rate, resulting in an increase in revenue and CSAT (customer satisfaction score).

Step D is crucial when being interviewed by the person you’ll be reporting to because you’ll be able to speak to their ego, influencing their hiring decision. Your interviewer will never ask you the question in the back of their head, “Why do you want to work for me?” By answering this question proactively, you’ll stand out from your competition. Who wouldn’t want to hear why you want to work for them?

“You speak regularly with my friend’s wife, Cassandra Gounaris, the purchasing manager at Bigweld Industries. I mentioned our meeting to her. She said your negotiating skills when she buys lumber from Binksi Logging are admirable. The opportunity to improve my negotiating skills under your guidance and be part of Binksi Logging’s environmental sustainability mission strongly appeals to me.”

An added benefit of proactively answering, “Why do you want to work for me?” is you’re also answering another subconscious question your interviewer has: “Will you be manageable?”

In my next column, I’ll provide examples of how to effectively communicate points B, C, and D (which you can tailor to your situation).

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job.

For interview requests, click here.

The opinions expressed by our columnists and contributors are theirs alone and do not inherently or expressly reflect the views of our publication.

© Troy Media
Troy Media is an editorial content provider to media outlets and its own hosted community news outlets across Canada.