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How do I research a company before an interview? December 8, 2009

Posted by jvmullin in 1.
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There are many ways to research information on a company. There are a number of places online to get information. Then there is the best way and that is to network person to person. You need to perform research in a number of locations to get a real good idea on the company before your interview. This is work but you need to put in the time.

This is also good information for researching your target companies also.

So lets look at a number of ways to find information;

Google:

Google the company name and look at the first 2 pages of search data that comes up. Take note on newspaper and magazine articles about the company. Visit the company website (I will get more into that in a minute).

Yahoo Finance:

Search Yahoo Finance for the company. If it is publicly traded the stock trends will come up and you can see how the stock has been trading.

Hoovers.com/free (remember the “S” or you will look at vacuum cleaners):

Hoovers free version will provide the name of the company, the address of the headquarters, the industry, who the top executives are, description of the company, the competition, the competitive overview, and sometimes it list jobs.

SEC.gov Edgar search engine:

This is for publicly traded companies. This is the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission website. This is where you want to search for a companies 10K and 15K reports. These reports are loaded with great information about the company.  The information includes, where they are at, where they are headed, what the risks are to the business, who they feel are there top competitors, and there financials.

LinkedIn:

Perform a company search. Look for people that you have a connection to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree. Network to these contacts. Set up in person meetings. Just ask for information on the company do not ask for them to hand in your resume unless they ask you for it. See post on networking.

LinkedIn groups is another way to find people that work at the company. If you are in professional trade groups or industry specific groups then start a discussion and ask if anyone works for or knows anyone that works for the company.

Company website:

The company website will have a number of sections to look at.

About Us: This will tell a little about what the company does and what industry or market they are in.

Investor Relations: This will have the Annual Report if they are publicly traded. Latest News about the             company (always good to know for starting conversation), and other information.

Careers: This will list the open positions in the company. I find that most companies usually do not keep this section up to date.

Contact Us: This section will have a single point contact or can have multiple points of contact. They are usually HR, Sales, and Customer Service email accounts. There are also phone numbers.

These are some of the best sources for finding information on a company before you interview there. It is also a good way to get information on your target companies so that you can have better informational meeting conversations. Either way you will go into the interview knowing about the company and be able to ask substantial questions and be better prepared to tell the interviewee what you can do for their company.

If you know of anymore good sources please add them to this post as it will help myself and others.

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Comments»

1. edmusesupon - December 8, 2009

Good overview of good job search fundamentals. Another corporate research site–that isn’t restricted to listed companies–is manta.com. It appears that manta.com uses some form of the Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Database. The interface is tricky to use, but still useful.

Also, some colleges/universities/libraries may have access to Factiva, a news aggregating service. This particular service is exceedingly useful for up-to-the-minute news.

2. DA - December 10, 2009

Hi Joe,

I read a lot of articles and enjoyed reading yours. Your writing skills are very good and congratulate your for getting your message across so concisely.

Are you really unemployed or just acting like one for the sake of writing the articles?

If you are unemployed, I can help you here with a complementary idea. Why don’t you collect your useful thought and get them published in a book? You will also be able to add this time and close the gap in your resume.

I have been asked to write a book but it is not built into my nature. You can do a great job of it and make a living out of it (as they say).

Cheers.


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