Preparing for interview: seven ways to research a company

Job seekers, you know how important it is to research an organisation that calls you up for an interview, but it’s easy to lose sight of all the ways in which we can research companies. Anyone with Internet access and basic IT savvy can Google a business and look on a website, but if you try these more creative methods as well, your hard work will pay off in the interview. Job interviewers and HR departments love to see evidence of a candidate really going the extra mile to do their homework.

1. LinkedIn Company Page 

The biggest professional social network in the world is no longer just for individuals. Many organizations now have their own company page on the site, including lists of current employees and recent hires. Have a look at the different job titles of these employees, especially the new hires. This gives you an idea of what the business does and what it needs new recruits for.

2. Press Releases

When anyone sends out a press release, it’s to announce big news or something else important to them. A company’s recent press releases will tell you a lot about what it’s prioritising right now and what its most major plans are for the future.

3. Financial Reviews

Most medium to large organisations worth working for will have annual financial reports readily available to the public, as this is a sign of accountability and transparency. These yearly financial reviews should have at least a basic breakdown of where the money is being spent and this tells us a lot about the business areas the company is looking to build, expand and/or market.

4. Competitors

To get an insight into what a business is thinking and what’s influencing it , take a look at how its market competitors are positioned and how they’re performing. Private enterprises often respond to and are inspired by what their rivals are doing. By finding out what’s working and what’s not for these rivals, you’ll be on the same page as your would-be employer, if not one step ahead of them.

5. Products and Services

 An organisation is largely defined by its products if it’s a corporate entity or its services if it’s in the public or third sector. By checking out the employer’s most well-known products/services as well as new and upcoming lines, job candidates can get a feel for the organizational brand and what it’s raison d’être is.

6. The Interviewer

 Knowing about the person who’s going to be interviewing you is as important as knowing about the company, as it can help you build a rapport with him or her and understand what they’re looking for. Get the interviewer’s name from the organization and then have a look at their social media profiles and any press on them.

7. Direct Contact 

Sometimes the easiest way to find something out about a company is to just ask someone there. On the job ad or interview invitation should be a name and a contact number/email address for if you want to discuss the role or interview process in further detail. If not, even phoning up the switchboard and talking to the receptionist can unearth some interesting information.

Further information

Position Ignition provides career advice and support to individuals and organisations: www.positionignition.com; and their Career Ignition Club brings together a selection of career development resources:  www.careerignitionclub.com

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