Five Essential Pieces of Research

Here are five pieces of essential research you should do before you interview with a company.

  1.  Get to know the company and its products.  Use the local business journal to search for articles about the company over the past couple of years.  Pay special attention to information about expansion of locations or product lines, and changes in senior management.
  2. Read through the company’s website to understand its culture.  Its mission, values and key marketing messages to customers are vital to understanding the corporate culture.  Take a look at the Careers page – it will give you an idea of what the company values in employees and in some cases, what the hiring process will be.  Reading the annual report will help you understand the company’s financial position and its goals for the coming year.
  3. Study industry trends.  Spend some time reading about customer, product or regulatory trends that may be affecting the company over the coming year.  How is customer spending affecting the way retailers or restaurants package their offerings?  How will new consumer regulations affect the banking and credit industries?  How will Asian currency policies affect the shipping industry?  You get the idea.
  4. See if you know anyone connected to the company.  Use social networking sites and business articles to see if there’s someone in or near the company who might give you information about the corporate culture, issues the company is currently facing, and future plans.  If you have a good relationship with that person or you worked together in the past, consider asking him or her to serve as a reference.
  5. Understand your market value.  Use sites like Monster.com and Salary.com to benchmark your current or last salary and benefits.  These sites will also help you understand where your educational or professional credentials position you in the marketplace. 

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