It’s tempting to jump on the first job offer you get, but the last thing you want to do is find yourself working for a company that doesn’t align with your goals or values. But it’s difficult to get a full picture of a company’s culture and working environment in a few short interviews and one tour of the office building.
Whether you are at the beginning of your job search or preparing for an interview, being armed with as much knowledge as possible about the prospective company is in your best interest. Not only will it help you formulate more insightful questions, it will boost your confidence as well.
It does, however, require some legwork. To help you find the answers you need, CIO.com scoured the Web to bring you an essential list of company research and review sites. And to help set the stage for your search, career strategist and executive resume writer Stephen Van Vreede of ITTechExec.com highlights three of the most common scenarios where a little knowledge of the company could pay off.
- Expectations: “Interviewers expect you'll know what the company does. If you don't, how can you say that you'd be interested in working there? I've interviewed countless candidates who asserted their desire to work for the company I represented. My very next question would be something like, ‘That's great, tell me what you know about our company?’ The interview usually ended very quickly afterward if they didn't have a clue.”
- Information: “Going into an interview armed with information can be a decided advantage, even if the information is available for public consumption. When you can talk about company activities like capital projects, market expansions and new product introductions, it helps you come across as a serious, intelligent and diligent candidate. More importantly, it adds a dimension that can often be lacking in an interview, which is to get the interviewer to see you as an advocate for the company instead of simply an advocate for yourself to get a job with that company.”
- Growth potential: “Researching the company, industry and market can give you some insight into the financial strength of the organization. Any publicly traded company must provide its financial results for investors to review. Check out whether the company on the upswing or appears to have dark days ahead.”
What you should look for
Company research websites are often designed to provide insight into not only what a company does, but how past and present employees feel about the organization. Here are some questions that will aid you in your quest:
What type of culture does the company foster?
- How many employees does it have?
- What is the company history?
- What is its mission statement?
- Does the core vision/mission align with your personal views?
- What are their services and products?
- What is their online reputation?
- Who are its clients?
- Who are its main competitors?
- Are they a public company, family-owned company, start-up firm or venture-capital-funded business?
- What do analysts project in terms of growth for the market the company serves?
- Does the company operate in an industry that's highly regulated with changes that could gravely affect the business?
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