How to Research a Company’s Pain Points (to Help You Nail an Interview!)

Bringing up a potential date’s “pain points” in a first encounter is a great way to lose a second date. But when your “date” is a potential employer, bringing up the pain points is a great way to land a second interview – or maybe even a job offer.

Why? What makes an interview different?

When you bring up a company’s needs, challenges, and obstacles in the right way, your interview offers two extraordinary opportunities to set yourself apart from the pack. First, you demonstrate that you’ve researched the company well enough to know what challenges it likely faces. Second, by discussing how your work would help address these “pain points,” you show that you know the job and you offer a way for the organization to end its “pain” – two things that can catapult you to the top of the candidate list.

How do you go about finding out what a company’s pain points are? Try putting these tips to work:

  1. Find the company’s strengths and then look behind them.

Every organization has certain strengths it prides itself on. Many companies tell the public what these strengths are – often, by listing them on the company’s “About Us” Web page, or in its other materials.

Nearly every candidate will read these lists to find out what the company values and what sets it apart from competitors. But you can target the company’s “pain points” by reading what’s not listed. Does the company fail to mention “commitment to client service” in a client-facing industry? Is the section on “Sustainability” the only one not supported with color photographs and links to company projects? Notice what’s not there and you’ll notice what the company can improve on.

  1. Brush up on the company’s financial health.

You don’t have to be a financial expert to get an overview of an organization’s financial health and priorities. Many companies provide basic information on their Web sites; look for the section labeled “Investor Relations” or similar.

Like the mission and values, the financial information – whether for the last quarter or the last few years – can give you a snapshot of the company’s strengths and its weaknesses. Did sales dip when a beloved product was found to have a major defect? Why did the percentage of the budget allotted to payroll suddenly jump three percent? Use financial data as a guide to finding pain points and preparing your interview presentation.

  1. Become an online community “lurker.”

Every candidate realizes that when they submit a resume, a company will likely Google them for information. Fewer candidates realize that they can Google right back.

Spend some time on a company’s social media sites. As with any online community, it’s wise not to jump in right away. Instead, “lurk” for a while by simply reading blog posts, comments, and social media postings without saying anything. Examine how the company addresses praise and complaints, how often they update, and what information they reveal. Chances are, you’ll find something you can talk about profitably in your interview.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our experienced recruiters can help you target companies that offer you the best cultural “fit” – so you can dazzle them in the interview. Contact us today to learn more!

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