Nothing is more off-putting than interviewing a candidate who knows little to nothing about the company, or the job that they are applying for. This goes for pre-scheduled phone interviews that often occur before the in-person interviews; I actually have had candidates ask me ‘ which position is this for, again?’ Needless to say, the interview ends right there.
There is no excuse for not researching the company. These days, information is literally at your fingertips. First stop is the company website: take a look at what they are currently working on, or get a better feel for all of the services or products they may offer. Read their blog posts and peek at the Leadership Team page. Review their Twitter / Instagram / Facebook or whatever-social media sites they may be on to get a better sense of their culture and what type of information they like to share.
Aside from taking a good look at the company’s website, check out other sites such as Glassdoor that give you first-hand reviews by current and past employees about the pros and cons of working there. Previous interviewees also sometimes post about their interview experiences so it’s also potentially a bit of insight into what you might encounter yourself as you go through the process. Leverage LinkedIn too, to see if you have any connections to individuals who work, or have worked, at the company you’re interested in (you have a LinkedIn profile, right?).
If you’re able to dig up some inside scoop on the position, what the interviewers may really be looking for, or what pitfalls to watch out for, you’ll be way ahead of the competition. The more you know about the company, the more the interviewers are going to be impressed. It shows a deep interest in the role and a commitment to making informed choices.