How to know about a company before joining.

Student holds his head anxiously
Photo by Tim Gouw

This is a guest post by Nisa Chitakasem.

To give yourself the edge, you need to research the employer organization and interviewers before a job interview.

Fortunately, in this age of the Internet and business networking, it’s getting increasingly easier to do this.

Interviewers will expect you to have some knowledge of the organization before you meet them. By researching the interviewers as well, you’ll know what to expect from them, and what they expect from you.

If you don’t know who your interviewers will be, call the person who invited you to the interview and ask them.

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What you should know about a company before an interview

company research tips

1. Start with the job description

The organization will expect you to have read through the job specification before you apply, let alone before the interview. Check it thoroughly and glean information on your department or function area.

What are the recruiters really looking for? How do your skills and experience match up to that?

2. Google is your friend

Go to the organization’s website and read up on it.

Browse other sites – like news sites and social networks – for other mentions of the company. What is it known for? What is its reputation? Where is it heading?

Look at your interviewers’ profiles on the company website and social networking sites. What are their responsibilities within the business? Is there anything relevant in their career background? What projects do they lead? Which business areas are they interested in?

3. Read the small print

While visiting the organization’s website, check out Investor Relations and the sitemap. You’ll be surprised at how much useful information you can get there.  See how the company is performing and what the turnover / share price is.  Gain that little extra insight to shine above the rest.

4. Connect through LinkedIn

Use LinkedIn to find people within the business, what they do and perhaps they’re happy to have a chat with you. Check your own connections and even your shared connections for greater access to people. Use LinkedIn’s introductions function to ask a connection for an introduction to one of their connections.

5. Watch the news

Look for mentions of the organization or your interviewers in the press. Where has the organization been mentioned, what for and with whom?  What are the latest developments in the business and which areas are they focusing in on?

If your interviewers are quoted anywhere, what do the quotes reveal about them? How does the article describe the interviewers’ roles within the company? Does it tell you anything about their background history?

6. Get on the phone

Call the organization’s HR department or reception and ask about the company, the role, the department, and how the business is going.

Sometimes you’ll be amazed at how much information they have and are willing to share.

7. What does your agency know?

If you found the job vacancy through a recruitment or placement agent, ask her the following questions:

  • What do you know about my interviewers? What’s their role and their style?
  • What’s going on in the business at the moment?
  • What are they looking for specifically?
  • Why has the agency put me forward for the job?
  • Have other candidates been sent? How many?
  • If so, what happened? What was asked, expected, what went well/wrong?
  • Is the company hiring in other areas?
  • Why are they hiring?

By doing some proper research, you’ll go into the interview prepared, feeling more relaxed and confident. In other words, you'll know what you should about a company before the interview.

The interviewers will not only pick up on the fact that you’ve done your homework, but also that you’re calm and approaching the experience with the right attitude.

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About the author

Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition – a careers company dedicated to taking you to the next step in your career. For free advice, guidance and information on careers visit the Position Ignition Career Blog or find Nisa on Twitter @PosIgnition or Facebook.

READ NEXT: 6 Standout Job Interview Tips From A Professional Interviewer

Subscribe to JobMob via RSS or email and follow me on Twitter for more company research ideas on the job search.

Jacob Share

Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.

This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. Kirk Baumann

    Great tips! It still surprises me to see just how many people don’t actually do the research on a company when they apply. In this super-competitive job market, what are you doing to set yourself apart?

    Don’t just apply and call it good. Go beyond the job description: research the company’s culture, history, learn a “fun fact”, dive into the annual report, set up a Google alert. Go the extra step. You’ll be glad you did!

    Great advice.

  2. melisa

    Its so important to do research as you have mentioned before going to the interview which many people dont do. It doesnt take too long to find out more information about the job and it could definently get you the job just by doing that! Great post!

  3. Pingback: 7 Company Research Tips Before The Job Intervie...

  4. Rich

    But Google is a very weak “friend.” Your Reference Librarians at your local public library can introduce you to research tools that make Google look like a 2nd grader’s book. These include subscription services that search far more comprehensively than Google has any chance at doing.

    1. Jacob Share

      Google has an infinitely larger amount of information indexed than any local public library… What kind of subscription services are your referring to?

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