Researching companies before an interview is one of the best steps you can take to land the job. You will identify where your expertise aligns, and get a glimpse of their workplace culture. More importantly, researching companies ensures the job you apply for matches your values. This comprehensive guide will dive into the methods and resources you can use to effectively research a company, and how to leverage this information during your interview.

Why Research a Company?

Before we dive into the how-to, let’s explore why researching a company is so important:

1. Tailoring Your Responses

If you are not completely comfortable selling yourself, understanding the company’s mission, values, and current challenges enables you to craft detailed responses demonstrating you’re a good fit without relying on general statements.

2. Showing Interest

Employers appreciate candidates who take the time to learn about their organization and the position. It shows enthusiasm and initiative. A general understanding of the organization also opens the conversation to more in-depth interview questions.

3. Assessing Fit

Every company will not approach remote, hybrid, or in-person work cultures the same way. Researching a company’s culture can help you assess if they are a place that fits your work style, values, and goals. 

PDN’s Guide to Researching Companies

1. Start with the Company’s Website

The company’s official website is the most reliable source of information and should answer all your surface-level questions. Here’s what to look for:

“About Us” Page

The “About Us” page will have the mission statement, company milestones or timeline, and perhaps a short list of the executive team. All of these will help you understand what drives the company.

Products and Services

Now that you know what drives the company, it’s time to learn about what they provide. You do not need to be an expert in their products or services but at least have a basic familiarity. Especially search for new products that set the company apart from competitors.

News and Press Releases

Every organization will not include news and press releases on their website, but reviewing any relevant media can help you stay updated. Rebrands, awards, or restructuring can greatly impact who a company wants to hire next. 

2. Explore the Company’s Social Media

Social media platforms provide real-time updates and a glimpse into the company’s culture and public engagement. Check for posts about recent projects, employee achievements, and internal company news. You can also connect with current employees who may offer their personal experiences or provide information on how they obtained their current positions. 

3. Read Employee Reviews

Much like trying a new restaurant, reviews are a cornerstone of researching a company. Employee reviews offer insights into the company’s work environment, management style, and overall employee satisfaction. Pay attention to recurring themes in reviews, both positive and negative.

4. Analyze Financial Information

For publicly traded organizations, financial reports offer a wealth of information about the company’s performance and strategy. Review stock prices, quarterly earning reports, salaries, and other documents describing their current financial situation. 

5. Understand the Company’s Culture

While social media and reviews give a glimpse into office life, how a company talks about its workplace culture can reveal a lot. For instance, Costco’s DEI statement says they “create an environment where all employees feel a sense of belonging — that they are accepted, included, respected and supported because of who they are.” 

Some organizations will describe company retreats, benefits, and team bonding experiences on their website as well. If you can imagine joining them on these fun excursions, it is a good sign that the company is for you.  

Examples of Leveraging Company Research

Here are some practical examples to illustrate how company research can convince recruiters and interviewers that you are the perfect candidate: 

Applying Your Skills to Their Product 

Imagine you are interviewing for a marketing position at a tech company that recently launched a new AI-driven product, accessible to everyday users. Your response could be:

“I am particularly excited about the opportunity to join your team, especially given the recent launch of [name of the product]. This innovation not only highlights your commitment to making cutting-edge technology accessible but also aligns perfectly with my passion and experience in marketing.

In my previous role, I successfully led a campaign for a new software product that targeted non-technical users. By focusing on clear, user-friendly messaging and leveraging social media platforms, we achieved a 40% increase in user engagement within the first three months. I believe my background in creating compelling, accessible marketing strategies would be an excellent match for promoting your new AI product.”

Demonstrating Interest in Recent Company News

After researching a non-profit organization focused on environmental conservation, you notice they recently received an award for their work in sustainable agriculture. You could mention this in your interview by saying the following:

“I admire your commitment to environmental conservation and was impressed by your recent award for sustainable agriculture. My background in environmental science and my passion for sustainable practices make me particularly drawn to your accolade. In my previous role at Green Earth Initiatives, I led a project that focused on implementing sustainable farming techniques in underdeveloped regions. This experience taught me the importance of community engagement and the impact that innovative agricultural practices can have on both local ecosystems and economies.”

Preparing In-Depth Questions

Perhaps you are interviewing for a financial analyst position at a large corporation. Your research reveals they faced financial challenges while expanding into international markets. A question you can ask the interviewer could be:

“Given the recent financial challenges and your expansion into new international markets, how do you plan to balance growth and financial stability? What role do you see this position playing in achieving that balance?”

Remember, the goal of your research is not only to impress your potential employer but also to ensure that the company aligns with your professional goals and values. You are assessing the company as much as they are assessing you. With the right preparation, you will approach your interview with clarity and take the next step in your career journey.

Find Your Next Organization with PDN!

At the Professional Diversity Network (PDN), we understand how many hours job seekers put into researching companies. That’s why we create company profiles for our job board that provide basic information, a DEI statement, a glimpse at their social media profile, and a list of their current open positions.