8 Pre-Interview Research Tips for a Winner’s Edge

Key Points:

  • Utilize these pre-interview research tips to maximize your next home building or building materials job interview.
  • Thorough research into what makes the company unique will show your genuine interest in the opportunity and may set you apart.
  • Leverage industry sites builderonline.com and probuilder.com in addition to human resources/networking websites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn to find relevant information about the company.
  • Create and rehearse excellent questions to engage your interviewer and show your interest.
  • The best questions speak to the unique characteristics of the company, help build rapport between you and the interviewer, and help further the dialogue.

Your Pre-Interview Research Guide

Show Genuine Interest Through Your Research

You are taking valuable time out of your schedule to take this interview, and so is the potential employer. Let’s make the absolute most of the time by being very well prepared and reducing common job interview mistakes with these research tips.  Many home building and building products job openings get hundreds of potential applicants, and most of them will take the time to research the company to be as prepared as they can.  That said, the HR manager will hear the same version of the ‘company profile’ direct from their website, from numerous candidates. Go beyond the “about us” page and dig a little deeper to find out what makes the company special.

Gather Unique Information About the Company

job seeker doing pre interview researchAs you gather information using the tools below, set yourself apart, and learn something unique about your target company.  So what exactly makes for “unique information”?  Perhaps the builder has recently moved up the rankings in customer service or local permits.  Perhaps they recently received a “best builder” or “best place to work” award.  Perhaps a building products company recently won an innovation award.

8 Kinds of Pre-Interview Research

1.  Utilize the Company Website

A no-brainer first step here.  On the company website for any home builder, you can find where they build, the price range they build in, and perhaps what sets them apart from the consumer.  If they have a news feed or an investor relations page, take time to check them out for recent stories that might help you generate thoughtful questions.

2.  Leverage Builder and Professional Builder Websites

Builder’s list of the Top 100 Builders and Local Leaders can provide a breadth of information about the builder you are interviewing with and how they stack up to other leaders.

Professional Builder’s annual Housing Giants list ranks the nation’s home building companies by revenue, the number of closings, housing type, and the location of the homes built.  This information can be convenient as 245 U.S.- based home building companies participated in the report.

Feedspot’s list of the Top 75 Construction Blogs, Websites & Influencers in 2020, is another great source for researching the company and industry before your interview.

3.  Find Unique Information on Google, Bing, and YouTube

Google, Bing, and YouTube are where you will see what the rest of the world thinks about your target company or home builder.  You may find information about an employer different than what the website tells you, depending on the quality of the website.  Here you’ll find what is being written, said, and videoed about their products or services.  Again, look for unique events and news that might set this company apart from others and create great talking points, especially how to talk about your weaknesses, during an interview.

4.  Check their LinkedIn Company Profile Page

For many homebuilders, from Fortune 500 to local private companies, LinkedIn will often have information about the people who work there (and how you are “connected” to them in LinkedIn) as well as the organization itself – plus job openings. Consider following their page and digging into their posts for great relevant information.

5.  Research, the Interviewer

While on LinkedIn, take the time to research the person or people that will be interviewing you. Does this research raise any questions or show you any opportunities? What are their reputations? Experience and education?  You may find that you have some “connections” with someone interviewing you.

Most importantly, you may find some great commonalities between you and the person you are interviewing with that will make rapport-building during the interview seamless.

6.  If the Builder is a Public Company, Check Out Their Stock

candidate in a researched job interviewIf you are specifically interested in a job in finance or accounting — or simply interested in avoiding an employer heading for a bad future — it’s a great idea to become familiar with how well the builder is doing financially.  Also, take the time to review the balance sheet, the short-term and long-term stock performance, the latest press releases, and the other information available.  Morningstar and Zacks are great places to begin your stock research.

7. Check Out Company Reviews on Glassdoor.com

Glassdoor.com is a great site that creates and accepts reviews of numerous home builders. Also, they have collections of job interview questions that interviewers use in the residential construction industry.  Please keep in mind, though, that the information is provided by people who visit the website and who may, or may not, be providing good information, current, reliable, and well-articulated.

8.  Avoid a Bad Employer With These Quick Google Searches

Protect yourself by running a handful of these Google searches to make sure you are going into your interviews with eyes wide open.  Some will work better for you than others, and some may not be appropriate for your situation. Use the search results you get to refine your search until most of the results are relevant to you.

[insert company name here] restructuring
[insert company name here] “reduction in force”
[insert company name here] “down-sizing” OR downsizing
[insert company name here] “right-sizing” OR rightsizing
[insert company name here] “headcount reduction”
[insert company name here] “negative revenue” forecast
[insert company name here] “negative sales forecast”
[insert company name here] “on the market”
[insert company name here] “negative outlook”
[insert company name here] “looking to be acquired”
[insert company name here] “hoping to be acquired”
[insert company name here] “purchase pending”
[insert company name here] “pending purchase”
[insert company name here] “pending sale”
[insert company name here] “sale pending”

Pre-Interview Research Bottom Line

To be the most prepared for your next home building or building materials job interview, take the time to thoroughly get to know the company and the interviewer using the pre-interview research tips above.  Follow that with an in-depth list of questions that will serve two purposes.  Your questions should show that you have a genuine interest in the opportunity and knowledge of the company.   The questions should also be helpful to you in your decision-making process.

In the end, the best questions speak to the unique characteristics of the company, help build rapport between you and the interviewer, and help further the dialogue about your strengths.

For more tips on nailing your next interview, check out our feature on behavioral interview questions and answers for management positions and how employers are leveraging evidence-based recruiting practices.

About MatchBuilt:  MatchBuilt is an executive search firm that specializes in placing top talent with residential construction and building materials companies.

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