Research the Company
When you research the company for whom you are contemplating working, you are actually doing so for two reasons.
ONE – Determine if the company is where you want to work
As you review the various pieces of information you collect about the organization you are pursuing, you will learn about everything from:
- market share
- sales forecasts
- number of employees
- the organization's mission
- its major competitors
- industry trends
- corporate culture/working conditions
This kind of information can be very helpful in determining whether or not you truly want to work for the company.
TWO – Prepare yourself for the interview
You can expect a hiring manager to ask you questions to determine if you have any understanding of the organization, its products and services and/or its major competitors. If you are not willing to take the time to research the company, you will be unable to answer these questions intelligently and, therefore, will likely not be pursued as a viable candidate. More on that later.
Research - Research - Research
Knowing where to look for information is the first step. The second step is to know what pieces of information will be most useful to you. The more you know, the better prepared you will be. The better prepared you are, the more confident you will be and the better you will do in the interview.
WHERE TO LOOK:
Sources of Company-Related Information:
Chamber of Commerce
Hoover's (some information is free, some is not)
Employer's Web sites
Public Relations/News Services
Your local library (newspapers, trade publications and more)
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
Let's say you are in a time crunch and have to find the information you need quickly.
Start with these basics:
If you have more time, look for answers to these questions:
- What does the company do/make?
- How large are they? Think sales, number of locations, number of employees, etc.
- Who are the major competitors?
- What is its market position? (How does it rank compared to its competitors?)
- Does the company have a mission and if it does, what is it?
- Who are the key leaders in the organization? What are their names and titles?
- What is the company's history? How did it get to where it is now?
- What are the sales forecasts for the coming year/5 years/10 years?
- Who are the organization's clients/customers?
- If they have been in the news recently, why?
Again, the more you can find out, the better prepared you will be for the interview.
If you are having difficulty locating information on an organization, consider the following:
- it may be local/regional only (national and international firms are much easier to research)
- it may be a subsidiary of a larger organization (and the headquarters may even be in another country)
- it may be privately held
While researching on the internet is convenient, the library has some amazing resources that can make the whole process easier. Librarians know where to look for the information you need. Not only that, but at most libraries, you can gather information both on and off the Internet as computer access is available at no charge.
Regardless of how you research the company, make sure you find out as much as you can. You have to be able to answer an interviewer's questions, such as:
- What do you know about our organization?
- Why do you want to work here?
- How will you help us achieve our goals?
- Do you think you will fit in well with the corporate culture?
- What do you know about our products/services?
Are you prepared?
Have you done enough research?
To make a great impression, you have to do some legwork in advance. Just remember, your competitors may be doing as much or more research than you. Be prepared.
Research: Company hiring managers expect it!
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