Interview Tip – Research the Employer

One key to a successful interview is preparation on the organization or company.  Some of the following ways to research the company are to (a) review the company’s website, (b) call and request written information from the employer directly, (c) contact people who work for the organization or alumni of the organization as good resources to gain inside information regarding the company (a good use for Facebook or LinkedIn), (d) visit the store or business to lend some information on the company culture, and (e) check the library for additional resources.

When researching the company, the following information is often useful to collect:

Names and job titles of key contacts.  It is important to know the vice president of the field you are interviewing.  For example, if you are interviewing for an accounting position, know the name of the Vice President of Finance.

Type of business/product line.  What type of business is the organization?  Are they a manufacturing, retail, or grocery company?  What are they selling?  Know the product line.

Company mission and values.  Know the mission and values statements.  The mission statement is supported by the values of the company.  These statements should be found on the company’s website.  This tells a lot about the company.  Does your values align with the company’s values?

Number of employees.  Is the company large or small in size?  Is the company international or national?   What are the number of employees?

The competitors. Who are the competitors of the company?  In what way are they a competitor?  Does the company sell similar product(s)?  Do employees usually leave one company to work for another?  If so, why?

The customer.  Who is the customer?  What is the demographic of the customer?  Does the company target to a high-end user, average user, or specific user?

Description of the organization.  How would you describe the company in one or two sentences?  How would the company describe itself?  Does the company have a logo or marketing statement?

Be thorough and learn as much about the company that you can prior to the interview.  The more informed you are, the more confident you will feel, and it will improve your interview significantly.  Plus, when you know about a company, specifically if you visited the company, you can bring to the interview your viewpoint of the company.  This will make you a more interesting interviewee and make the interview more interesting!

Internet Resources for Researching Companies:

  • Hoovers online provides corporate profiles:  www.hoovers.com
  • American journalism review provides industry and company information:  www.newslink.org
  • Industry and company information:  www.corporateinformation.com

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