Company research is imperative to your job search and interview success and there are ways to capture that information for better interview preparation. I recommend creating an email to yourself, or using a Word document, to copy and paste hyperlinks of research information you would like to recall for a phone or in-person interview. Include a description of what information is in that particular link, and where it is located in the document or website, so you can easily and quickly find it for review prior to an interview, and if necessary, print and take with you. Research should encompass the following:
1) What does the organization sell – products and/or services, and who do they sell them to specifically? Academia “sells” knowledge, hospitals “sell” better health, not-for profits “sell” services, so remember, it doesn’t have to be a traditional company in order to have a “product.” Are those products and/or services sold to individuals, groups, businesses (a specific type of business), government, or all of the above? Do they have a niche?
2) How large is the organization? Where is the organization located (inclusive of multiple locations)? Size is both in employee numbers and revenues.
3) What recent articles have appeared about them in the media? Do a Google search.
4) What is their financial performance, particularly during the last two years of this economic downturn?
5) Who are their competitors? This is good to know for the interview, and you may want to apply to their competitors as well.
Your research can also help determine if the company is about to merge with another organization, be acquired (purchased), close its doors, financially struggling, has a negative corporate culture, pays poorly, recently laid off employees, or has a high employee turnover. On the flip side you may also discover it’s a terrific organization for to which to work and will have an increased desire to work there.
Just going to the company website and clicking on the “Careers” tab is not enough. Be able to answer the question “Tell us what you know about our organization” with detail. You will impress the interviewers and enhance your chances of landing the job.