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  3. Our complete guide on how to research a company for an interview
Our complete guide on how to research a company for an interview

Our complete guide on how to research a company for an interview

Artwork by: Antonina Kasyanikova

  • What is the best way to research a company before a job interview?
  • Review the company’s website
  • Look for social media posts & engagements
  • Check out the LinkedIn profiles of key employees
  • Do some research on the competitors
  • Read employee reviews
  • How do you know if a company is good to work for?
  • Respect for work-life balance
  • Transparent DEI policies
  • Clear career progression plan
  • Key takeaways

One of the best ways to ace a job interview is to showcase your knowledge about the potential employer and ask them the right question. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to research a company for a job interview.

If there’s one thing all recruiters, career coaches, and hiring managers agree on, it’s that your job interview preparation should include a little bit of research on the potential employer. After all, you would want to know what you’re getting yourself into before taking the plunge, right? So how do you research a company for an interview?

In this blog post, we’ll talk about job interviews and discuss:

  • How to research a company for an interview

  • How to determine if the company is the right fit for you

What is the best way to research a company before a job interview?

Think of your job interview as two-way traffic. Your potential employer wants to learn more about your skills and what you bring to the table. Similarly, you would want to learn about the organization and its culture, policies, compensation package, and growth incentives. For this reason, it’s important to do some research before walking into a job interview.

Researching the company before the interview helps you determine what the company is all about. What is their mission? How well do they treat their employees? What do their customers think of them? Who are their biggest competitors? Once you’ve obtained the answers to all these questions, you will have several talking points during the interview and you’re likely to leave a positive impression on the interviewer.

Statistical Insight

According to research, every year, more than 50% of job applicants in the United States don’t make it past the interview stage due to their lack of knowledge about the organization.

Here are a few tips on how to research a company for an interview.

Review the company’s website

The easiest way to learn about a potential employer is to review their company’s website. Try to figure out the company’s products and services, mission and values, and raison d'etre. Also, read up on the company’s history and leadership team. You can find this information on the company’s “About Us” and/or “Meet Our Team” pages.

While you’re on the company’s website, check out their Careers page and see if they’ve advertised the job you’re applying to. Compare this with the other job openings posted on the website. This should give you an idea of their ideal candidate and what they’re looking for. 

Look for social media posts & engagements

When you apply for a job, the hiring manager is likely to review your social media accounts to learn more about you. So, when you’re preparing for the interview, why not return the favor and find out about the company?

Apart from the company’s press releases that show up in search results, its social media posts convey a lot about its core values, target audience, and product knowledge. Find out if the company is regularly posting updates on its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. Are they interacting with customers? Are they responsive to complaints? Is the overall tone casual or formal? Focus on any positive social media posts and turn them into some good discussion topics for your upcoming interview.

LinkedIn is also an amazing platform to learn more about an organization. Pay attention to the type of information the company is posting on its LinkedIn profile. Maybe there’s an upcoming holiday for which they’re hosting a competition, or they’ve recently secured a massive investment. A company’s LinkedIn activity is a good discussion topic during an interview.

Check out the LinkedIn profiles of key employees

Since you’re on LinkedIn, don’t just stop at reviewing the company’s profile. Check out the LinkedIn profile of some of the employees, especially those of the hiring manager, supervisors, and team members.

For example, if you’re being interviewed for a Sales Executive role, look at the LinkedIn profiles of all the other Sales Executives in the company. Check out their qualifications, work history, and tenure with the company. This should give you an idea of the company’s definition of an “ideal employee” and what they’re looking for. You can leverage this information when you’re introducing yourself during the interview and talking about what you’ll bring to the table. 

You should also check out the profile of your reporting authority and the hiring manager to prepare some questions for the interview. In most cases, these individuals would be ideally suited to answer your questions about the organization, as well as your job role.

Do some research on the competitors

Apart from researching your potential employer, you should also spend some time researching competitors, the industry as a whole, and how the organization fits into the big picture. Competitor knowledge also comes in handy when you try to negotiate your salary after receiving a job offer.

A quick Google search should reveal some of the company’s biggest competitors. You can also leverage LinkedIn search to look for competitors. Is the competitor expanding into a new market? Are they launching a new product or service offering? Have they recently participated in a marketing event, tradeshow, or charity drive (as part of a CSR initiative)? 

Researching the competitor allows you to put a compelling response to the interview question, “Why do you want to work for us?” You can talk about the organization’s strengths, how it sets itself apart from the competitors, and why it’s your first and last choice for employment. 

Read employee reviews

Log onto Glassdoor and similar websites, and see what the company’s current (and former) employees have to say about it. Employee reviews can be surprisingly (read: brutally) honest and give you a full picture of what you’re getting into.

By reviewing employee reviews, you’ll get a deep understanding of the company’s culture, values, salaries and benefits, and overall working environment. If a company has more negative reviews than positive, it’s your cue that there might be something wrong with the organization.

Employee reviews also make up for a good discussion topic. When it’s your turn to ask questions, you can say, “So I noticed your organization has a couple of negative reviews on Glassdoor, with the salary range described as inadequate. What steps have you taken to revise your salary range and bring it on par with the industry average?”

How do you know if a company is good to work for?

There’s no foolproof way of determining whether a company is good to work for. After all, it’s not until you start working at an organization that you determine whether the employment is worth the effort. However, there are a couple of signs that an organization cares about its employees.

Respect for work-life balance

If an organization has a generous paid time off (PTO) policy, flexible working hours, frequent office events and outings, and the opportunity to work from home, these are all positive signs of an employee-first culture. Another factor to consider is the salary range, which should be at par with the industry average for that particular job role in your area.

Transparent DEI policies

Over the past several years, organizations across the world have been revamping their hiring practices to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion. While companies are committed to DEI, it’s best to check the profiles of its employees to determine if they actually practice what they preach. Glassdoor reviews also shed some light on an organization’s hiring policies. 

If you notice an organization with people from different races, genders, and ethnicity, it’s a sign that the company values diversity and is likely to embrace different ideas and cultures. 

Clear career progression plan

When you’re researching the people working at an organization, check out their LinkedIn profiles and observe their career trajectories. When they joined the organization, what was their first job role? How has their designation changed over their tenure? How frequently have they been promoted?

A good company has a clear career professional plan. This way, when the interviewer asks you, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”, you’ll have a clear answer to this question.

Key takeaways

  1. When you’re preparing for an interview, it’s important to research the organization to obtain more information about its culture, vision, and mission.

  2. The more you learn about the company, the more talking points and questions you will have for the interviewer.

  3. If an organization offers competitive pay, a great working environment, and plenty of opportunities to learn and grow, it might be a good company to work for.

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