Other than pay and benefits, 43% of candidates say they are attracted to a new job because of meaningful work. By researching a company’s core mission, you’re not only ensuring they have clear goals, but ones that resonate with your interests and passions.
How does the company make money? Who buys their products or services and are they highly rated? Is the company a start-up, or if it’s been in business for a while, how has it grown over time? What industry is this company in? The answers to these questions will give you
an idea of how stable this business is, what some of their immediate concerns might be, and how you could play a part in their success.
Research the employees who hold respected positions within the company by reading the “About Us” page and employee bios on the company’s website. Seek out the social media profiles of executives and department directors—What are their posts like? Are they proud to
represent the brand or work in this industry? Some company leaders may have been interviewed or written books and articles that give you insight into their thinking.
To attract potential employees, companies often disclose healthcare benefits and other perks, including stock options, flexible work schedules, or unique onsite facilities that may include gyms or catered cafeterias.
Search for general news coverage and specific industry publications for recent updates about the company and its competitors. Scanning customer forums and product reviews can also help you gauge a company’s or their products’ reputation.
It’s a good idea to scan headlines for major changes in a company’s recent past. Note any significant events, such as widespread layoffs, corporate mergers or buyouts, a new CEO, etc. Such changes can bring opportunities, but could also result in low employee morale and
leave a volatile work environment in their wake. Proceed with caution.
Seek opinions from trusted, reliable friends and associates. After you’ve done your research, discuss what you’ve learned with your network. Ask people you know for the inside scoop on their own company’s culture and if there are opportunities. If you’re a recent college
graduate building your network from scratch, ask university advisors for names of alumni working at your target companies.
If you’re a new college graduate or in a career transition, you may want to start by building a list of industries that best suit your knowledge, skills, and interests.
It’s important to note that this research does take time. If it’s not possible for you to set aside several hours at one time, break it up into dedicated 20-minute blocks. Dedicate each block to researching a different part of the company.
If you’re interested in working for a smaller private company, you may have difficulty tracking down information online. Fortunately, there are thousands of media sources—including national and local news, trade publications, business journals, forums, and blogs—that
provide articles and product reviews.
After learning all you can about a company, you may be tempted to showcase that new-found information during the interview. But be sure you do so strategically and to your benefit. Use the information you’ve learned to connect your skills and experience to the job description,
goals for the department, and vision for the company throughout the interview.