We talk a lot here about how important it is to research a potential employer before a job interview. But we’ve never explained in detail about how and why you should do so.
Take a look below for why researching an employer is valuable and how to use the information during your interview.
- Start with the company’s website.
You’ll find a true wealth of information there. Check for news releases: this will tell you what the company is proud of and also will tell you if it’s planning on expanding, if it won an award, if it just hired a new marketing manager, etc.
You should look through every tab listed on its homepage. Look at its social media accounts. See what’s new and what its employees have accomplished.
If the company is publically traded, you’ll probably see a menu tab labeled “Investors” or “Investor Relations.” (This section might be under the About or even the public relations/marketing section, and if the company is multi-national, you may have to do some digging around the site to find it).
This section truly a gold mine: companies publically traded on a stock exchange in the United States must file each quarter what are called SEC filings.
You’ll want to check in particular for what are called “10-Q” reports. These are free to download and you will find within them what the company’s profit and loss was for the quarter, what went well for the company and what – well – didn’t go so well. (You may see a link to its annual report in that section and you should read it, but an annual report often only is filled with the positive stuff; quarterly filings tell everything about a company’s financial health. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires it.) The reports also often give an overview of what challenges and opportunities the industry in which the company offers services/products is facing and how well the company is faring inside those industry challenges.
Seriously: read the 10-Q reports. They are fascinating! (And just watch a hiring manager’s eyes widen in admiring amazement when you say at some point in the interview: “I just read your 10-Q for the third quarter and I found it interesting that….”)
- Set a Google Alert for news about the company.
Go to Google Alerts and type in the name of the company, provide an email address where the alert can be sent and decide how often you want any alerts to appear in your inbox (once a day should suffice, especially if it’s a large company).
Now you’ll see in real time news about the company, such as press releases, news articles, even employee reviews on review sites, etc.
- If you know the name of the hiring manager, check out his/her LinkedIn profile.
Don’t worry that this could be construed as stalking. After all, you can bet that if you’ve been called in for an interview, the recruiter/hiring manager already has checked out your profile!
If you’re not already a first-level connection, consider asking for one. (If you’ve already scheduled an interview, the hiring manager should easily accept.)
See if you share any connections and if you know any well, ask them for any insight they might have into the hiring manager’s background, personality, etc.
- If working with one of our staffing recruiters, ask for insights into the company and hiring manager.
Helpmates’ recruiters will provide you with lots of information regarding the company, the position and the hiring manager before you go on an interview. We’ve worked hard over the 40-plus years we’ve been in business forging great relationships with companies throughout the Orange County and Los Angeles region and we know their needs well. If looking for work, you can rely on us to help you as much as possible. Contact us today.