Where should you being in researching a company? We all know how essential it is to be well-informed about an organization before we head into an interview, but how do we get the intel. Where should you go to get the information you need to answer the question: “Tell me what you know about us?” Better yet, researching the company is not only about answering this question, it’s self-serving as well. Investigating a company will help you determine what questions to ask and decide if the position is worth pursuing. Here are six places to start your exploration.
I know this is the obvious place to start to find the answer to anything, but it’s how you google that makes a difference. When researching a company you want to find out what’s not on the surface. You want to find out what clients, employees, shareholders, and the media is saying about the firm. Has the company been in the news recently? This is the type of information that will allow you to truly get a 360 degree view of how the external environment views the company. Research executives by name and see if there is anything valuable on the web about them. The more information the better.
Glassdoor has become my go-to site for interview preparation. This site provides basic information about the company but also gives insight on the interviewing process and employees are able to review the organization. Glassdoor allows other interviewees of the company to comment on their experience and give you a heads up on the recruiting process; which can be very helpful. The most valuable resource on the site is the company reviews. Current and former employees give feedback on the company, listing pros and cons, if they approve of the CEO, and give the company an overall score. As a caution, with anything you read on the internet, don’t take it as gospel, but analyze the information for yourself.
Ask around within your network to see what they think about the company. You may already know people that have worked or done business with the company and their feedback could be valuable. Knowing that the firm you’re interviewing with has a reputation for horrible customer service could make or break your decision to move forward. On the other hand, if everyone you mention the company to raves about all the great things they do, then you can feel confident in proceeding.
Checking out the company website is vital but once you go to the homepage, then what? I suggest visiting these three tabs.
- About Us – You should know the company’s mission, vision, and history. Don’t worry about being able to repeat it verbatim, however knowing what they stand for is helpful. Understanding how a company wants to be perceived by others and how they view themselves will assist you in determining if your values are aligned.
- Leadership Team – Know the CEO and the head of the department you are applying for. This may never come up in the interview but if it does, you want to know these names.
- Media/Press Releases – This is a quick way to see what’s new with the company. Have they released a new product or just received an award? Having this information in your back pocket is what could set you apart from the competition if mentioned during the interview.
LinkedIn is another good way to see who in your network works at the company. The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can see how you are connected to the organization without even knowing it. Once you see how you are connected to the organization, you can reach out to your direct connections to see what they may know about the company, staff, and culture. You can also use LinkedIn to get more information on your interviewer, who works in the department you could possibly be joining, and how the company is contributing in terms of posting articles on the site.
Don’t forget to use social media sites to get more information on your potential next employer. What are they talking about on Twitter or posting on FaceBook? This will convey a lot about their social media presence, what they are working on, and what they want the world to know about them. This is all advantageous going into an interview. If you don’t see a strong social media presence, depending on the industry, this could tell you a lot as well.
Before you walk through the doors of your next interview make sure you are armed with all the “need to know” facts about the company. The basics are who they are and what do they do. However, #savvy girls know much more. Do your research and go to these six spots to prepare and you will have more than enough weapons to answer the “What do you know about us?” question.
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