Research requires learning all you can about an employer prior to speaking with them wither over the phone or in person. There’s nothing worse than going for an interview and not knowing anything about the employer or the job. Competition for internships and jobs is tough and not preparing for an interview beforehand is setting yourself up for failure.
Tips for Researching Companies Prior to an Interview:
Visit the Company Website
Check out the company website to get a better understanding of what the company does. From the website you can find out the mission of the organization and its target market. You can also learn about the company’s history and how long the organization has been in business. This knowledge will help you better prepare your answers for the interview and will help you formulate intelligent questions about the company when the interviewer asks you if have any questions.
Network with Professionals
If you have a connection to someone who works at the organization be sure to tap into that valuable resource. You may email or call and ask to do an informational interview to learn more about the industry, the company, and the job. If you don’t personally know someone currently working at the organization, contact the Career Services Office at your college to see if there are any alumni who work at the company.
LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals and a place where you can post a personal profile, join professional groups of interest, get advice, and use as a source for finding internships and jobs. The key to using LinkedIn successfully is creating and maintaining a robust list of connections. You can also have recommendations posted to your LinkedIn account and add your website or resume directly to your profile. LinkedIn provides employers with a place to do one stop shopping when seeking candidates for current open positions.
Using social media to find out what’s going on in the job market is perfect for college students who are masters in using this form of technology. Visiting social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter will allow you to become a Fan or follow the company online.
Google is a tool that you can use to see if there are any current articles or write ups about a company online or in the news. Google makes it easy to learn about company news and offers information on past history and current stories about an organization.
News Media Websites
For smaller companies you may look at local newspapers or TV stations to find out information and The New York Times.
Chamber of Commerce
The local Chamber of Commerce can provide a wealth of information about businesses in your community. Usually you are able to review members of the Chamber to identify individuals you may want to talk to.
Your local library is another resource where you may subscribe to resources such as ReferenceUSA where you are able to do additional research on companies online.