Researching Prospective Employers
It's common to hear stories of companies digging up dirt on job applicants through Google or social networking sites, but it's equally important for the job seeker to research potential employers ahead of time.
Before you meet with your interviewers, you should have a working knowledge of the company's basics, including
- the mission statement
- recent company achievements, other notable changes
- biographies and basic information on your interviewers
- how formally or casually to dress
- general information on the larger industry
So how do you do it? Most of the resources you need to research a company are free on the web or available through the Library.
- The company's website. Simply visiting the company's website will usually tell you most of what you need to know, including the mission statement, corporate history, names and biographies of executives, and the general attitude of the company (i.e. does everyone wear T-shirts and play foosball on breaks, or are they more formal and traditional?).
- Google, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites. What sort of web presence does the company have? Google their name and see what the top search returns are. Do they seem to have a spotless reputation or did some negative reviews appear? Does the company invest a lot of time promoting itself on social networks or does it have an outdated website?
- Glassdoor.com. This site allows you to look up a specific job posting and find out more about the company offering it, including an overview of average salaries, awards and accolades, ratings from people who work there, and even insight into what sort of interview questions you can expect.
- Better Business Bureau reports. Search by company for an overview of the business, accreditation status, and any complaints filed against the business in recent years.
- ReferenceUSA Business*. Search for a specific company or executive in this database and you'll find a comprehensive collection of business data, including historical information, stock data, expenditures, and management profiles.
- Business Insights: Essentials*. This database contains detailed information, key personnel, and company histories on larger companies.
- Value Line*. This online version of the leading publication covers a company's stocks, mutual funds, options, and convertible securities, as well as company news and market updates.
- Next-Day Job Interview: Prepare Tonight and Get the Job Tomorrow, by Michael Farr and Dick Gaither, includes a useful chapter on company research.
* Library card required for use outside the Library
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