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Company Research

Finding Company Information in Preparation for Interview

Company research is a critical factor in conducting a successful job search. Most persons looking for company information are either preparing for an interview and/or conducting a job search and are targeting particular companies in specific industries, regions, or fields.

Researching companies for the job search process can be lengthy and time consuming but, if started early, can prove to be very productive and lucrative.

An effective job search campaign requires a well thought out plan and plenty of preparation. A large part of your preparation should include company research. Company research assists and guides you in identifying those companies that meet the employment criteria in which you seek and have established. When researching companies at the beginning of your job search, you should look for basic information such as:

The industry, products, and/or services it provides.
The size of the company.
Does the company hire in your discipline or interest area?
What is their method of hire and whom do they hire?
Where is the company located geographically? Do they have divisions or corporate headquarters in the geographical area in which you seek?
Does it have the employment criteria in which you seek?
If there is a match between your employment criteria and the company, you would then want to find out more specific and detailed information such as:

The age of the company
The company's growth pattern
Number of employees
Sales assets and earnings
New products or projects
Any foreign operations

*Note of caution*
Be careful not to limit or restrict your criteria too much. By restricting yourself, you could wind up passing up a great opportunity. Sometimes digging a bit deeper will dredge up more appealing and attractive information and make you want to reconsider that particular company.


Researching Companies in Preparation for an Interview

If you are researching companies in preparation for the job interview, you will be interested to know, according to Karmen N. T. Crowther, author of Researching your Way to a Good Job, "Employers perceive 'researching the company' as a critical factor in the evaluation of applicants because it reflects maturity, interests, and enthusiasm." "Time after time, when employers are asked what job candidates can do to shine in the job interview, the response is, 'thoroughly research the company and be able to talk knowledgeably about it in the interview'." According to employers responding to surveys conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, "candidates who have done their homework are better able to discuss how their experiences and qualifications match up with the company's needs; prepared candidates who know the company can also talk about how they can make an immediate contribution to the organization. The candidate who can do that is typically the candidate who gets the job offer."

What type of information should you know in addition to the basic information you have already gathered? There is an overwhelming amount of material to absorb about any given company, but aim at getting a basic understanding of the company, it's history, and where it's headed.

Add to your file:
Company history
Company strategies, goals, and mission
Management style and company environment
Number of employees
Company's growth pattern
Sales assets and earnings
New products or projects


Where to find Company Information

The sky is the limit, but here are a few places to start:

School or Community library - the Career Management Center's resource section located in the Turchin Library on the third floor provides you with company and employer directories, industry guides, various magazine publications, career books, job bank books, and newspapers to name just a few.

Internet - can provide you with company web sites, virtual job fairs that can lead to company web site links, search engines and books of lists. This is definitely an endless source of information but, don't rely on it solely.

Chamber of Commerce and Better Business Bureau - (for local regions) can be very helpful when searching for information on local companies and those not publicly traded. 

Bloomberg Financial News Retrieval System - located in the Turchin Library on the third floor. This is a powerful on-line data system that can provide you with a multitude of information. It can be utilized to access information on any public held company.

Alumni - informational interviews with alumni very familiar with a particular company or companies in your interest area or field can provide you with a wealth of information you may not be able to get from any publicized source.

The Company - many times you can request information about a company such as an annual report or any other company publication by directly calling the company. This method of course is best done early on during your job search.


Last Updated 7/18/12
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