A very important skill that you should learn as a job seeker is research skills. Failure to develop this skill may make it difficult for you to effectively research a company and even decrease your chances of getting the job. Not only will this skill help you come up with a new job, but it could also be of use to you in the future.
Even though it is said that it is a good idea to have some questions for your recruiters when you are being interviewed for a job, it is also advisable that you have first-hand knowledge of the company. The interview period is a time you learn things about the company, such as their culture and how they fit into your career goals. But that is not the perfect time to learn some basic things about the company.
Researching on a company seems pretty simple, but in reality, it is easier said than done. Company research usually comes in handy at 3 important points in your job hunt- when you are about to research the kind of employer you want to work with when you are finally prepared to apply and during the interview session, when you are tested on your knowledge of the company.
Where are the likely places to search for and get company information? How do you go about the search? Here we have come up with the best resources and ways you can tackle the issue of company researches before your interview.
Company Research Checklist – How to Research a Company
Below we discuss a couple of steps that you can take to make sure you get a thorough understanding of the company where you’re applying for a position.
Take a tour around the company website
When you research a company, you should start your search by visiting the company’s website. You can get the company’s website by typing in the name of the company into your web browser. Mostly, the Google.com search engine provides an easy and simple way of doing this.
The information you need is usually found in the ‘About Us’ section. There, you will see information such as; the company’s background info, their mission statement, their products, and the services they render and their management policies.
Pay attention to the major theme emphasized on the company website; most times, that is the central motto of the company. It tells much more about them.
Put your LinkedIn into use
This is a good time to put your LinkedIn account into good use. LinkedIn company profiles provide a good means of gaining access to company information. Here, you will see the profile of the company workers and team. This provides a perfect avenue for you to search for your prospective interviewer and gain insight into their profile. Check to see if you have connections with him or her. Do you two know the same people? Did you attend the same college? Do you live in the same area? Or do you share the same group online or elsewhere? With this information at hand, you could connect better with them and build a good rapport during the interview process.
Also, on the company’s LinkedIn profile, you will see their recent hires, their job adverts, promotions, and statistics. You will also see the connections you have in common with the company. Think of a way of reaching out to those connections. They should be able to put you through on the company’s culture and give you tips and guidelines that can help you with your interview.
Browse through their social media accounts
Social media is a good place to research a company. First, start with their Facebook page; most company’s update their Facebook page regularly even more than other social media accounts.
Next, analyze their Twitter account. Twitter sure does have stores of information, especially recently. Check out their Instagram account as well. This will give you an idea of how the company manages its publicity. It will also tell how efficient their social media marketers are.
These social media accounts could provide you with the information you may not have seen on the company website or their LinkedIn profile because they are usually updated regularly. Check out for the tone they use. Is it casual or professional? How responsive are they to comments or complaints? If you want to get updates on the company, you may have to like or follow them.
Read outside reviews of the company
Most times, company websites and even their social media accounts may not really cover all you need to know about the company because the website and the social media accounts are managed by the company staff most times or hired agents. The information you get there would only be the ones that paint a good picture of the company without telling its downsides. But, with reviews, you get to see people’s opinions of them, you get to see their good and their bad side. With this information, you would be able to decide if you can work there and if their values and goals fit into yours.
Some of the best sources for getting information on public companies include- Hoovers Online and BusinessWeek Online: Company search. If it is a large private company, you can check them up in the list of Forbes’s largest private companies. If it is a non- governmental or non- profit organization, you can check them up in professional organizations and associations
Go to company directories
If the company is recognized in your country, it should appear in the list of company directories. Most times, these directories are arranged based on the sector the company belongs to. That is to say, companies should either fall under public, private, or non- profit/non- governmental. In the directory, you will find numerous companies organized either by ranking or alphabetically. Check out your company name and check for their ranking.
Read company media publications
There are so many media outlets that one can get information on companies ranging from national news, business-related publications to industry-specific publications. In such media vents, you will get published articles and stories about different companies. You can run a search on the company you are interested in.
Get a clue of their financial strength
It is advisable you have a clue about the financial capacity of the company you want to work with. Their financial capacity, of course, would determine your pay, as you would not expect any company to pay you outside of their budget. You can click the ‘investor relations’ button of the company website to get this information.
It is usually easier to get this information when it is a large company, as they have a higher tendency to publish their quarterly earnings and annual reports. These reports typically contain information about the company’s risks, their services, and new products and the rate of growth of their revenue. You can also catch up on their funding, most recent hires, and their procurements. With this information at hand, you have some information to run an impressive interview, possibly telling the recruiters where you think the company is heading towards in the nearest future.
Read the company’s corporate blogs
With so many websites sprouting up, there is strong competition as each fight for their voice to be heard. Companies and business organizations are now seeking means of getting their selves advertised. The use of blogs is one way they achieve this. The blogs afford them the opportunity to make updates and upload as often as they want. From the blogs, you can find out the company’s culture. The blogs will definitely feature posts that will help your search.
Make use of your connections
The period you are researching a company is a good time to make use of the contacts and connections you have within the company. If you know someone who works there or who did in the past, you can hit him or her up for assistance. You can get a list of your school alumni that work there and send them an email or even a LinkedIn message.
Get to know the company’s strength and its competitors
To know the company’s competitors, you should have a general knowledge of the industry. Get information about their competitors, their strengths, and weakness. It would impress your recruiters to know you went the extra mile when you divulge to them information about their industry.
They will even feel more impressed and ultimately get interested in you when you are able to decipher what makes them stand out from their competitors. Talk about how the company fits into the bigger picture. You could find information as regards this on their values and mission statements, which is usually clearly displayed on their ‘About Us’ section of the website. If you do your assignment well, you are sure to leave them intrigued by you.
Learn about the employee benefits provided by the company
Sometimes, companies disclose the benefits they offer their employees, such as health insurance, company cars, company housing, stock options, flexible working schedules, etc. if it is not in their ‘Career’ or ‘About Us’ page, you can check out the FAQ section. You are likely to see people talking about the company benefits, or you could ask the question yourself.
Job Interview Topics – Common Job Interview Questions & Answers
Below you can find a list of common job interview topics. Each link will direct you to an article regarding the specific topics that discuss commonly asked interview questions. Furthermore, each article discusses why the interviewer asks these questions and how you answer them!
- Career Change
- Career Goals
- Conflict Resolution
- Creative Thinking
- Cultural Fit
- Customer Service
- Growth Potential
- Honesty & Integrity
- Job Satisfaction
- Entry-Level & No experience
- Prioritization & Time Management
- Situational & Scenario-based
- Stress Management
- Telephone Interview
- Work Ethic