Matt Richard’s Top Recommendations for Researching a Company
On the blog today, Market Street Talent’s Director of Business Development reviews several avenues candidates can take in researching a potential employer.
One of the most important aspects of the job hunting process is taking the time to extensively research the companies with which you are applying. This goes beyond just finding out what companies produce and whether or not they match 401(k) contributions; you need to do a deep-dive into their culture, financials (if available), and managerial styles to make sure that when an offer is extended, you are making the best decision for yourself. Here are my favorite sources for learning everything you can about a company:
The company’s website. This can seem like an obvious place to start your research, yet candidates often just stop at the home and career pages. Explore the website further by reading press releases and company announcements on the blog, look at the pictures to discover the company’s culture, and see what their corporate giving or community involvement policies are. If they are a public company, read their most recent financial statements to see if they are in the process of acquiring another company or if they recently faced a financial crisis.
LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the most popular social media channels for any organization. Here is where you can find recent press releases or shared articles that the organization finds relevant, a list of current and past employees who are also on LinkedIn, and thought-leadership posts from those within the organization.
Your network. Check your LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to see if you have any connections within the company. If you find someone, ask that person more than just what it’s like to work for the company; ask specific questions, like, “What is the managerial style?” or “Are there any unwritten rules within the company?”. If you know the person well enough, ask if they would recommend you for a position with the hiring manager. According to iCIMS, an applicant tracking software company, candidates referred by someone on the inside are hired two-thirds of the time and are more satisfied in their jobs.
YouTube. Many companies have their own YouTube channels with videos dedicated to culture, products, employee testimonials, etc. When a manager asks, “So what do you know about us?” you can respond by saying, “Well, I watched some great videos on your YouTube channel and learned X, Y and Z.”
Glassdoor.com and other similar review websites give you insider knowledge by offering company reviews from internal employees. Take caution, however—some reviews are posted by disgruntled employees or human resource representatives, so readers should not put 100% of their faith into what the reviews say.
Social media. Almost all companies are active in at least a few social media channels. By reviewing the company’s Facebook page or Twitter feed, you might find they have participated in a recent charity or held a company outing somewhere fun. Using this information as a talking point in the interview can help make a more personal connection with your interviewer.
Competition. Find out who their major competitors are and research what the competition is doing. Showing you know the overall business and market conditions can make a really good impression on the interviewer.
Finally, if you are working with a staffing agency like Market Street Talent, ask your recruiter to give you as much information as he or she can about the company; after all, they have likely met with representatives of the company several times either in person or by phone and can impart with you their knowledge of culture, management style, and atmosphere.
Are there other avenues you’ve used to research a company? If so, share them with us on Facebook.