Researching potential employers is vital to an effective job search or interview. This research comes in handy at three pivotal times during a job search:
When you’re deciding what kind of employer you’d like to work for.
When you are ready to apply for internship or job.
When you’re interviewing and your knowledge of the company is put to the test.
Tip #1: Look for companies that share your values
Study the company’s core mission to ensure they not only have clear goals, but ones that also resonate with your interests and passions.
If you value social causes, diversity initiatives or innovation, choose a company that articulates these as part of their mission vision or work.
Using Vault, Google or Glassdoor, read reviews from past and present employees covering areas like company culture, salary, job advancement and work/life balance.
Check out the company’s social media presence – what are they communicating about and promoting?
Tip #2: Learn about the company’s business operations
Read the company’s annual report to see if it is a public company.
Analyze who buys its products or services, and whether or not they are highly rated.
Consider: if the company is a startup, or if it’s been in business for a while, how has it grown over time?
Tip #3: Research employee benefits the company provides
Learn about the healthcare benefits the employer offers, as well as other perks including stock options, flexible work schedules or unique onsite facilities that may include gyms or food halls.
Tip #4: Research the company’s leadership
Analyze the employees who hold respected positions within the company by reading the “About Us” page and employee bios on the company’s website.
Seek out the social media and LinkedIn profiles of executives and department directors to see what they are passionate about.
Some company leaders may have been interviewed or written books and articles that can give insight into their thinking.
Tip #5: Expand your research to related local news stories, recent events and business journals
Read Crain’s Cleveland Business, check your local chamber of commerce, or the Better Business Bureau to stay updated on local business news, analysis and commentary.
A company’s website, blog and social media are great ways to learn about a company from its own perspective.
Scan customer forums and product reviews to gauge a company’s (or its products’) reputation.
Tip #6: Ask your network for opinions
Seek opinions from trusted, reliable friends and associates.
If you’re a recent college graduate building your network from scratch, ask Career Services staff for names of alumni working at your target companies. Consider reaching out to these people on LinkedIn for a coffee meeting.
Tip #7: Be strategic in how you share your research in an interview
Use the information you’ve learned to connect your skills and experience to the job description, goals for the department and vision for the company throughout the interview.
Make sure the information you found is current and not outdated.
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