Finding a new job can be a stressful, but exciting, process. Changing your place of work is an opportunity to advance in your career, acquire higher pay, and get better benefits for the hours you work. But all companies aren’t created equal, and a good candidate will research a company before they apply and interview. Knowing what to research about a company before an interview can help you land the job and establish the career you deserve.
How to Research a Company for an Interview or Application
Company researching can be done through a number of different mediums, and using a combination of several is the best way to get a complete profile on the business you intend to work for. These range from utilizing resources available on the internet, searching public records, or canvassing other workers in your industry and community.
1. Check Their Official Website
You can find a lot of what you need to know about a company before the interview just by looking at their website. Almost every company website will have an “about us” page where you can find when the company was established, what their mission statement is, and what makes their particular business unique. You can also see what types of services or products the company offers, what type of marketing content they have available on their site, and possibly even testimonials from customers or employees.
2. Scope Out Their Social Media Presence and Dive Into Their Google Results
Often linked to their website, a company’s social media can help you dive deeper into their particular voice and public persona. Do their posts tend to make jokes about popular culture? Do they usually post about sales or new product lines? How much do they interact with their followers?
All of these questions can help you establish a more comprehensive idea of how the company conducts themselves publicly, as well as how their prospective client base views them.
Beyond their social media, a simple google search will likely have been one of the first steps you took in your research process. You’ll want to really look at the results on the first few pages for a company, and see if they have been the subject of any major headlines (good or bad.)
If a business has recently gone through a scandal, or seems to have a track-record of negative press, that may be a sign to withdraw your application. If the company is the subject of articles talking about positive programs for their employees or exciting new innovations they’ve made in your field, that should encourage you to secure an interview any way you can.
3. Check Reviews From Customers and Former Employees
Moving away from content curated specifically by the company, check out the reviews for their products and services elsewhere on the internet. See what the average user or customer says through services like Google Reviews, Yelp, or Amazon Marketplace; does the reaction tend to be positive? Do their products satisfy customer needs, or do there seem to be common complaints? Seeing whether a company offers a high-quality product can let you know whether working for them could be a lucrative and long-term career.
You’ll also want to see testimonials from past employees to get an idea of the company culture. Websites like Indeed or Glassdoor allow former employees to review employers, letting other users know information about pay, treatment by management, and possible benefits. In this way, researching a company before an interview can show you whether to apply at all. If former employees say that staff is mistreated or poorly paid, steer clear.
4. Check Publicly Available Information Through a Records Search
If you really want to get information about a company, public record searches may be your best bet. This is especially important if you can’t find much about the company elsewhere, and you are suspicious about the job being offered. There are a number of third-party services you can utilize to find out essential data about any available business
Many of these pieces of information won’t be available on the company’s website, social media, or even external review websites. This can help you confirm that the company is legitimate, and you aren’t in danger of falling prey to a scam.
5. Ask Around Within Your Industry or Community
If you have connections in the industry, ask around and see what other people say about this particular company. This can be done in person or through websites like LinkedIn, which give employees a way to network and talk about different job markets. Talking with others who have applied, interviewed, or worked for a company can help you learn little details that are rarely available online. You can see what types of people they hire, what level of experience their employees tend to have, and how long they stay at the company before leaving. If you see that the company is constantly hiring or bleeding employees, that may be a sign the work conditions are less than ideal.
Learning How to Research a Company for a Job Can Set You Up For Success and Keep You Safe
Finding out every detail you can about a business will not only help you ace the interview, but it can help you avoid being the victim of a scam. Scammers are constantly using fake jobs as a way to steal information or money, and you want to do everything you can to avoid these predatory criminals. Always be on the lookout for job postings that offer well over the industry standard or ask for payments by candidates. You should never pay a fee for an interview, or any sort of money for training. You won’t pay a legitimate business for work, they’ll pay you!