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Mastering the art of pre-interview research

Written by: CIPS Procurement & Supply Jobs
Published on: 13 Mar 2024

Every interview is an opportunity to showcase your expertise and sell yourself. But before you step into the lion's den, it's crucial to arm yourself with knowledge about the company and the role. As the old saying goes… By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. 

​​​​​​​Image of a person looking at her laptop holding notes

Delve into the company's website 

The company's website is your first port of call. Explore every nook and cranny, from the About Us section to press releases. Pay attention to their mission, values, and recent achievements.  

Understanding their brand identity and strategic direction will enable you to tailor your responses to resonate with their ethos during the interview. 

Dive deep into company culture 

Culture fit is a game-changer. Scour the company's website, social media channels, and employee reviews to gauge its vibe. Look for clues about values, work environment, and employee satisfaction.  

Understanding an organisation’s culture will help you tailor your responses during the interview. 

Follow the money trail 

It’s always important to understand how an organisation or company operates. Is it a private, limited business? A public sector organisation? Or a charity? Each will have different methods of generating revenue, and paying close attention to this will demonstrate your commercial acumen – a vital characteristic for procurement and supply professionals to showcase.  

Numbers don't lie. Delve into the company's financial reports, annual statements, and news articles. Pay close attention to revenue trends, profitability, and any recent acquisitions or partnerships. 

Investigate the market 

Research the company's competitors to understand their market positioning, product offerings, and any recent innovations. Having an awareness of industry dynamics and the competitive landscape will give you a better grounding in the company’s challenges and showcase your strategic thinking. 

Stay updated on industry trends 

Procurement and supply chain are constantly evolving fields. Demonstrate your interest and willingness to engage in the sector by reading a few articles on industry publications, blogs, or watching videos. Familiarise yourself with emerging trends, technological advancements, and best practices.  

Demonstrating your industry knowledge and forward-thinking mindset will set you apart from the competition. 

Build questions based on your research 

All good interviewees will ask prospective applicants whether they have any questions to ask in an interview, so it’s a good idea to build one or two questions around findings from your research. It’s a great opportunity for you to find out more about the organisation, so why not showcase the preparation you’ve carried out at the same time? This can really help to set you apart from other candidates.   

Armed with these research tactics, you'll be well-equipped to ace your procurement and supply chain interviews with confidence. Happy hunting! 

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