How to Research a Company
You've stumbled on a job opportunity that looks interesting. But
before you fire off a resume, you need to do some homework.
the company is an excellent way to impress the potential interviewer and show
respect for their organization. It also helps you learn about the company's
history and the challenges it is currently facing. That knowledge can help
you emphasize how your qualifications can fill the holes and solve key problems.
"The main things to look for when researching a company are new announcements
regarding a change in leadership, major initiatives or new customers," says
Beth Hendler-Grunt. She's the CEO of Next Great Step, a company dedicated
to coaching new graduates looking for jobs.
"I also suggest reading
any blogs or social media feeds about the company. If you see that the company
just had a major layoff, this may not be the time to join there. Likewise,
if there is an acquisition or new product, there may be a need for more resources.
"I particularly recommend the LinkedIn Alumni feature. It allows
you to see alumni from your university and where they are working," adds Hendler-Grunt.
"Connecting with alumni who work for a company you have interest is
an easy way to learn more."
Here are some questions to consider during
the course of your research:
- How does the company make money? You should know what products or services
the company offers and who its major clients are. Most companies are happy
to share that information on their website, through their blog, or on their
social media accounts.
- What is its business philosophy? What are its values? You want to make
sure you're a good fit for the company culture. Follow them on Twitter or
Facebook to see what kind of content they share.
- What skills and experience does it find appealing? You need to know what
they look for in a candidate. You can get a sense of this from the careers
section of the company website. Or you could try reaching out to current employees
on LinkedIn to see what they can tell you.
- What is the organizational structure? It's good to know who the key players
are. Check the company website for employee bios. You might also want to go
on LinkedIn to see what these people have to say about the company.
- Who are its competitors? You want to find out what makes that particular
company stand out. Use LinkedIn to find related companies. This is very useful
for finding out how the company you're looking at fits into the overall industry
- What is the work environment like? Websites like Glassdoor can help you
get the inside info that doesn't appear on the company site - things like
salary ranges, company reviews and details about the hiring process.
But be prepared to go beyond online research. "I recommend to recent
graduates to reach out to people for informational interviews or shadowing
experiences," says Hendler-Grunt.
"It is always best to speak with
people who know about the company or have direct experience working for the
company. I highly recommend networking as well-- even if it's a simple informational
interview to understand what the company experience is like and how the person
got to that role. Face to face will always get you further than searching