How to Research a Company for an Interview

researching a company

How to Research a Company

Researching a company you are interested in working for is critically important because it will provide the knowledge you need to assess whether the company is right for you, and allow you to tailor your cover letter and resume or CV to the role and to the company. It will also give you the required information you need to prepare for your interview. To have a great interview, you’ll need to get as much information about the company as possible.

Hiring managers are looking for passion in their employees, and value job-seekers who know key information about the company because that knowledge demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm for the company and for the job.

Taking the time to research the company demonstrates that you’ve got a genuine interest in the role and will fit well within the organization. The good news is that much of the information you’ll need to be a well-informed candidate is available online.

If you’re working with a recruiter, they will have some of the best resources on the company that you could ever find, so you may want to take advantage of that to get as much information as you can about the company.

The Company Website

Start by visiting the company’s website to learn how it started and how it evolved to where it is today. You can get a lot of information from the About Us page. You need to know what the company does, it’s size, its mission, corporate values, organizational structure, products and services, target market, locations (main and branch) its industry the countries it operates in, and who are the major players in the industry.

Local business journals, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Hoovers Online are among the best sources for gathering information on public companies.

Press Releases

Press releases are typically used to provide the latest news about a particular company and its products and services to the media and its target audience.

Do a search for any press releases that the company has released and find out any important news or projects the company has recently announced through any press release. Find out about any innovations, key milestones, etc.

Google Search

Google the company’s name and search for it on Google News to get a feel for what news is going around and what information comes up about the company. Click through to the news stories you find about the company and take notes. Read publications, and search for information on the company’s most notable successes and challenges.

If your interview is just days away, set up automatic alerts to your email address using Google Alerts to keep abreast of the latest information about the company.

Social Network Infrastructure

Search for the company on the major social networks to see how they are branding their company. Check out their pages on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn. Read their tweets and status updates on the various platforms. What are they talking about? How are they engaging with their audiences?

What is the tone of their posts? Is it professional or casual? Are they responsive to their audience? Search for the company on review sites like Yelp, Trust Pilot and Reevoo. Read online reviews about the company’s products and services. What are their customers and other businesses saying about the company?

LinkedIn Company Page

It is very important to check out the organization’s LinkedIn Company page during your research. You’ll find a wealth of information about the company. You’ll also be able to see current and former employees, new hires and other important news about the company.

Check out the employee profiles to get a sense of the company culture to visualize how you can fit in. Read the company’s status updates to see what kind of information they are sharing on LinkedIn. Be sure to also look at the profiles of the person that will be interviewing you. Let them know that you’ve found them on LinkedIn by viewing their profile. This will show that you are diligent and do care about the role.

Corporate Blogs

Sign up to the company’s blog and subscribe to their newsletter. Read their latest blogs and articles for insider information about the industry as well as for the latest company news.

Vision and Mission

You should know why the company does what it does, its core beliefs, brand values and how it operates. Having this information will give you the insights you need to better understand your role and experience in helping the company fulfil its mission.

Company Culture

It is important to find out all about the company’s culture. This is the personality of the company that defines the environment in which employees work. It includes a range of elements including the company’s mission, values, ethics, expectations and goals.

What is the company’s personality like? For example, some companies have a team-based culture with employee participation on all levels, while others have a more traditional and formal management style.

How do you fit into the culture? You need to ensure that you’ll be a good fit and will be happy there. You can find out more about the company’s personality from the content of their social media posts.

Company Status

Are they making headlines or sailing under the radar? Search for them on Reuters. Do they have a lot of job openings? Search for them on Indeed so you know what jobs are currently active. If they are public, what do their financial statements say? Yahoo! Finance has some of the best financial news and bigcharts.com does a great job of visualizing it.

Career Opportunities

Check out the companies’ careers page to find out about employment issues such as career paths and advancement opportunities, benefits, scope for advancement, diversity initiatives and other career-related issues.

Problems and Challenges

It is important to understand the company’s problems, pains, challenges, strengths and weaknesses so that you can develop a strategic plan of how to add value. You can also prepare a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the company that you should take with you to your interview. This will help you stand out from your competitors.

SEO Roles

If you are going for a digital marketing role, perform an SEO audit and analysis on the company’s website. Anticipate you will be asked for your opinion on their current online marketing strategy. Identify and document any issues you find.

Be ready to demonstrate you have researched their existing strategy and have taken the time to prepare recommendations on how they can improve moving forward.

Connections

Find out from LinkedIn whether you are connected to anyone who has worked or currently works at the company. If you are, contact them beforehand to get some useful information about working at the company that you can use in your cover letter. Check out Bravenew.com which allows you to connect with employers directly.

Competitors

Research who their top 3 competitors are by going to the LinkedIn company page and scrolling down to the “Other Companies People Viewed” section. You can also find their top competitors by Googling generic keywords that are used to search for the company’s products.

Find out how the competitors stack up to the company you are applying to. Who are the major players in the industry? What makes this company special compared to its competitors? Has a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) been done on the company? If not, get this done and take this with you to interview. If you need help getting this done, you can outsource th work to a Seller on Fiverr.com or UpWork.

Industry Information

Find out information about the industry within which the company operates. Look out for trends that are either opportunities or threats for the potential employer. A good source of industry information is Industry Portals which provides links to different industries.

Showcase Your Research

After all this research, express your enthusiasm for the company by showing off the information you garnered in your research. Work in examples of what you have discovered about the company into your cover letter. This information will also help you ask intelligent questions at interviews.