Researching about employers is vital to an effective job search. This research comes in handy at three pivotal times during a job search: first when you’re deciding what kind of employer you’d like to work for, then when you are ready to apply, and finally when you’re interviewing and your knowledge of the company is put to the test.
How to research a company
- Look for companies that share your values
- Research employee benefits the company provides
- Learn about the company’s business operations
- Review local news stories, forums and business journals
1. Look for companies that share your values
Other than pay and benefits, 43% of candidates say they are attracted to a new job because of meaningful work. By researching a company’s core mission, you’re not only ensuring they have clear goals, but ones that resonate with your interests and passions.
If you value social causes, diversity initiatives or innovation, choose a company that aligns with these. Read reviews from past and present employees covering areas like company culture, salary, job advancement and work/life balance.
2. Research employee benefits the company provides
To attract potential employees, companies often disclose healthcare benefits and other perks, including stock options, flexible work schedules, or unique onsite facilities that may include gyms or catered cafeterias.
Review the Careers and About Us pages on a company’s website as well as their social media channels.
3. Learn about the company’s business operations
How does the company make money? Who buys their products or services and are they highly rated? Is the company a start-up, or if it’s been in business for a while, how has it grown over time? What industry is this company in? The answers to these questions will give you an idea of how stable this business is, what some of their immediate concerns might be, and how you could play a part in their success.
For public companies, you can get this information from the company website as well as access certain financial information, office locations, and learn how the company is structured. Public companies typically post annual reports and other public financial documents online. You can also consult resources like Crunchbase to learn about funding, mergers and acquisitions, as well as the competitive landscape.
Look out for information that will help you answer questions about the industry and how the company you’re researching could pull ahead or maintain their lead.
4. Review related local news stories, forums and business journals
If you’re interested in working for a smaller private company, you may have difficulty tracking down information online. Fortunately, there are thousands of media sources—including national and local news, trade publications, business journals, forums, and blogs—that provide articles and product reviews. Also, try your local Chamber of Commerce offices or the Better Business Bureau.
Company research is time well spent for developing knowledge of an organization, preparing for interviews and writing an eye-catching cover letter. It also helps you make an informed decision about whether a company is a good match for you.