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The best ways to research a company before an interview

Posted on 08 March 2023

The best ways to research a company before an interview

​7-minute read

 

Researching a prospective employer is a fundamental component of a successful job search. Effective research leads to a more informed decision, with the information you gather helping you to steer the interview into areas of interest and if done correctly will help you become more memorable in all participant's minds.

There is no right or wrong way necessarily as to how you should research a company but here at Peritus Partners we take this step of the hiring process very seriously and actively encourage every applicant to dive deeper than just the company’s landing page and job description.

The tips shared in this article have proven success behind them with many of our clients praising the applicant’s knowledge ahead of time. Each hiring process is unique, find out what works for you and create your own formula for success.

 

What to look out for

Before we explore how you can conduct your research, it is best to understand what to look out for. We mentioned in the introduction that effective research will lead to a more informed decision. The information you uncover will peel back layers of a company that are likely not touched upon during a traditional interview (unless prompted by you).

The headers below will offer some starting questions but try not to limit yourself to these. The more you try to learn about a business the more comfortable you will feel with your final decision. This is your career and as such you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you.

Culture: Is the company's working culture aligned with you? Specifically the working conditions, diversity and inclusion efforts, hours, expectations etc. Culture is very difficult to determine during a few brief interviews, but don’t worry, we have a few tips to help uncover this further.

Values: Do you believe in what the company stands for? Outside of the ‘values’ they post on their website, is the mission something you truly want to get behind?

Reputation: What is the opinion of the company from an employee perspective? Consider both past and present employees. How are they perceived on the market by their clients? What about their competitors?

Package: Is the compensation offered within the business fair? Do they offer things that are tailored to your needs? How about compared to the market rates today?

Personal Development: What growth opportunities can you see within the business? Is the company growing or has it plateaued? Does the business have a market fit which will push your career? Who will you be working alongside to learn from?

 

How to research a company

With a clear idea of what to keep in mind during your research and a few questions to ask yourself, now let’s explore some of the ways we coach those we work with in how to best research a prospective employer.

 

About Us

Nearly every company we know has a subsection on their website titled ‘about us’. A handy page containing everything you need to know (that the company wants you to know) about them as a business.

Here you will often find the mission statement, values, and any specific initiatives they want to draw attention to.

This is a great place to start but should certainly not be the only place you look to gather information. Everything shared on this page has been crafted to portray a very specific image, digest what you see but look to uncover more throughout the next steps.

 

News

News articles can be found in various sources. With a little luck you might have another subsection on the company’s website nicely titled ‘News’ ready for you to click, but again note that the articles shared here have been handpicked to showcase them in the best light.

Therefore, alongside checking this page, hop onto Google news and type in the company’s name. Here you will be subjected to the good and bad articles giving a more accurate view as to how they are portrayed in the media.

If you cannot find any articles, it will also allow you to ask them ‘why’ during the interview to learn more.

 

Social media

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are great to learn about the public opinion of a company and how they portray themselves in a more relaxed view.

The language, imagery and topics they choose to share will paint a picture of what they really believe in from a cultural perspective. Think of the website as the calling card, whereas the social media platforms are the everyday thoughts of the company.

You will also get a glimpse of how they interact with people on their social feeds through stories, posts and comments.

 

LinkedIn

LinkedIn has a plethora of tools at your disposal during your research phase, but what we would highlight here that we feel could be beneficial is the ability to click through past and present employees with a few simple search strings.

Understanding who your colleagues might be, where they came from and how long they have been with the business will help you build a picture of the inner workings of the team you are potentially joining.

Do they have a high turnover? Do they hire from reputable companies? Do they promote from within?

 

Interviewers

Just like researching the wider company, we always encourage applicants to specifically research the interviewers, again LinkedIn is great for this.

Understanding their background ahead of speaking with them will help you identify common ground or areas of interest you could bring up during the meeting. Alongside this, it will help position questions to them such as: Why did you join the company? (if recently) or What keeps you in the business (if over 12 months).

 

Immediate network

Anyone you are connected to that works (or worked) with the business you are interviewing should be someone you want to speak with.

Depending on your relationship with them you might need to tailor your approach, but we encourage open communication that allows you to learn more about the business outside what the company is trying to share with you.

Unedited and unscripted opinions from those who have worked or are working always give the best impression and chance for you to determine if the business is truly right for you.

 

We are yet to find a single hiring manager who doesn’t like a well-prepared applicant. Understanding as much ahead of time about the company’s culture, values, reputation, package and development plans will save both parties time in focusing on areas that are most important.

Everyone we work with will have tailored one-to-one preparation support per interview, but as a starting point, this article should give you topical areas to take into your own processes. Feel free to share into your own networks if you feel someone could benefit from reading this.

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