You got the interview, now what? Time to dig in and learn all you can so you can shine in the face-to-face meeting. Having good background on the company will make you look interested and prepared, but the research will give you valuable knowledge that will help confirm that this is in fact a place you want to work.
Where to Start?
Here’s the information needed to look like an expert when you meet with the hiring manager:
- Basic facts about the company. Make sure you are versed in what they do, what industry they belong to, and what products they sell.
- Company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. You can find this through a careful reading of the company’s annual report, or in business news reports.
- Major players. You should know the names of senior management, who their major clients are and the competition.
- Recent significant news. Has the company just launched a highly anticipated product? Did they have a really strong earnings report? Is their stock up or down? What do analysts think?
To get all of this information you are going to need to do some digging. Here are some good resources:
- Company website – Usually there will be an “about us” tab where you can learn a wealth of information. A basic overview, mission statement, company values, and much more can often be found on the website as well. Don’t stop here though. You should know every major part of the company website if you are applying for a job there.
- Hoover’s Online – This is a great source to get a lot of basic information such as financials, competition, and senior staff. There is a pay portion on this site, but a great deal of information can be gained just in the free area. Many local libraries offer free access to the paid portion of the site.
- Blogs and groups pages – If you do a search for blogs dealing with brands and companies, you can learn a lot about what’s going on with the company from what they do well to areas they struggle with. Two good sources to check out are blogpulse.com and groups.google.com.
- News search sites like news.google.com – This is a good place to go to find current events and major developments for a company.
- Friends, family, or colleagues – Don’t forget to check with people you know. They could be your most valuable source of information when researching a company. You’ll get a candid perspective of what it’s like to work there than from this group. In fact, a great source of information on a company is former employees. Use LinkedIn to find people with a connection to the company. These insiders are a great source of information and will help prepare you for your interview.