Nailing a job interview could be just the thing that sends your career in the right direction. Now we all know we're supposed to prepare for interviews by planning for key questions and memorizing our own resumes. But you'll also need to do your fair share of research to increase your chances of success. Here are just a few things to study up on.

1. The company's history

It's always a good idea to read about the company you're interviewing with, and that means learning about its origins and growth. Taking this step will show that you're truly interested in the business itself, and that you've made an effort to get up to speed. So check out the company's website, and if that doesn't provide enough information, Google is your next best bet. You're bound to dig up enough details to come off as being well informed.

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2. The company's product or services

Just as it's important to read up on the company you're interviewing with, it's perhaps even more crucial to study its product or service line. This is especially critical if you're applying for a position where you'll be working directly on a product (such as a marketing or brand manager). Better yet, try out some of that company's products if they're easily accessible. For example, if you're vying for a role at a company that produces scented soaps, get yourself to the store and buy some bars to sample at home. This way, you'll have firsthand experience you can share during the interview process.

3. The company's leadership team

Knowing what makes your company's management tick might give you a leg up over the competition. Even if you're not interviewing with any higher-ups directly, it still pays to understand who the key players are, review their backgrounds, and aim to get a sense of the values and skills they're looking for. You never know how involved those people might be in the hiring decision, so presenting yourself as the sort of person you think they'd want at the company certainly won't hurt you.

4. The person interviewing you

Often, you'll be given the name of the person you'll be interviewing with in advance. If that's the case, use that information to your advantage. Check out that person's LinkedIn profile, see what his or her experience and responsibilities entail, and use those details as talking points when you sit down to meet in person. If your interviewer happens to have published articles or papers, be sure to check those out, too.

5. The industry as a whole

One final bit of homework you'll want to do before an interview is learning about the industry you're applying to, as opposed to just the company itself. Now if you've been working in that field for quite some time already, you'll probably come in knowing a thing or two, but it still doesn't hurt to uncover recent trends and come in with a little data in your back pocket. That extra knowledge could be just the thing that sets you apart from the competition.

The more prepared you are going into an interview, the greater your chances of landing the role you're hoping for. So put in a little extra effort the next time you're called in to meet with a company. It could end up being an extremely worthwhile investment.

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