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If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you will probably have noticed that the title of this post has a !, instead of the usual … This is because today’s nugget of wisdom is something that keeps coming up in conversations with my friends. It’s something so essential but easy to overlook, hence the emphasis on it!

One of the good things of getting older is that you get to be the interviewer. The tables literally turn and you get to ask the questions. It’s very interesting because you get a whole other perspective. You start to notice the things that work and the things that don’t. One of the things that clearly does not is when you are unprepared for an interview. Whether you are interviewing for a job or are simply having an informational interview, it is absolutely critical that you…

Do your research!

Friends have recounted stories of interviewees who don’t know the stock price of the company for which they are interviewing. I have also heard stories of people who request informational interviews only to make stupid questions which they would have known if only they had done their research beforehand.

I have my own embarrassing story like this. My first year in London, fresh out of B-school, I met Lady X who worked in company Y in job Z, which I would have loved to do (names have been disguised to protect my embarrassment). I set up an info interview with her over the phone. To make a long story short I did NO research whatsoever which is a huge NO when you (1) don’t know the person and (2) when you are doing it over the phone. I thought I could just wing it, but actually, over-the-phone conversations do not flow as easily as those in person. After about 10 minutes I was sternly scolded for clearly not preparing for the call and for wasting the interviewers time. I felt awful, I had ruined what had been a good opportunity to learn about an area I was super interested in, and in establishing a good contact!

But this is how one learns sometimes…the hard way. Now when I hear my friends talk about how unprepared some of the candidates they interview are I think, woe is them!

Don’t be that person who neglected to read up before an interview.

Bottom line: Do your research!!!