Researching Companies

Employers urge you to learn about their organizations/companies prior to interviewing for positions with them. Doing some research will help you ask educated questions during the interview and will demonstrate your interest in the company. Researching the company will also help you determine whether it’s truly a place you’d like to work. You can look at interviews as a two way street. Employers really do want you to ask them questions because it also benefits them if, through your questioning, you become convinced that the position is a good fit for you.

Where to research companies

  • Visit company website
  • If you know someone in the company, talk to them
  • Local Chambers of Commerce
  • Local newspaper, online articles or journals
  • Check out resources like Vault Reports and Wetfeet for “insider” information, company profiles, financial information

What to find out

  • Key people in the organization
  • Major products or services
  • Size in terms of sales and employees
  • Locations, nationally & internationally
  • Organizational structure of the company
  • Major competitors
  • View of the company by clients, suppliers, and competition
  • Latest news reports on the company or on local or national news that affects the company

Develop questions you’ll ask the employer

Here are some examples:

  • What major developments would you like to see in the future? Where do you see this organization going from here?
  • What are some of the challenges or opportunities you see this organization facing in the next year?
  • Six months from now (or a year, or 3 months), what do you want the person in this position to have achieved?
  • Could you describe the organizational culture and the way in which colleagues interact with each other and with superiors?
  • In what ways does the company’s mission statement or values statement guide employees’ work?
  • How do you determine the value customers are receiving from your products or services?
  • What new products or services have you recently introduced to serve your customers? What are you working on now?
  • How are employee suggestions and innovations received?
  • How much importance do you put on [specific skill, e.g. customer service skills] in choosing someone for this position?
  • What are some of the qualities or abilities you’re looking for in the person you hire for this position? What other traits or abilities do you feel are important for success in this kind of work?
  • What training opportunities are available?