Conducting a pre-interview research of your potential employer is one of the best ways to stand out in a competitive market. Here are a few research pointers you could follow:
Company website: You need to go further than clicking on the 'About Us’ tab; understand details like the company’s mission statement and strategic direction for the mid to long-term; their target market and the products / services they provide. Businesses of a certain size are also likely to have a careers site that will detail the Employee Value Proposition and what makes the company a great place to work.
In the news: For a more objective view of the company, find out why the business has recently been in the press. This will provide details such as recent deals, investment, acquisitions, financial performance and any scandals that are worth learning about.
Company Annual Reports: Many larger businesses will have their Annual Reports available for download on their website; this information is accessible for anyone to browse and provides a great indication of the financial health of the company. However, remember that Annual Reports are generally published with positively framed information, so it is important to balance your research with other sources.
Competitors: Find out who the company’s key competitors are and what differentiates one from the other. It is also well worth doing some further research into the industry where the company operates — look at overall industry buoyancy and key headlines in the news.
Social Media: Use social media to check out your interviewer’s professional online profile and also visit the company’s social pages profiles to see the type of content they are publishing and the style of communication they adopt. Finally, read what their followers / fans are saying about them online.
Recruitment agencies: Recruitment agencies can provide a unique insight into the style, history and culture of a business. If you are interviewing via an agency ensure you make the most of their client relationship and take advantage of the knowledge they hold.
Workforce: Reach out to your personal and professional networks to see if you know anyone who works (or worked) at the business. Speak to these projects to get the inside scoop on company culture, internal projects and what it is actually like to work there.