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Researching Organizations

Career Resource Center

Researching Companies

If you have secured an interview, identified the companies you want to work for, or found a job posting that has caught your eye, research the company thoroughly. Look at the company’s website, and use internet search engines to do a complete search. Knowing a prospective employer’s strengths, challenges and competition will position you as a valuable commodity.

Basic information to gather:

  • type of company and its products
  • mission, vision and goals
  • services or products provided
  • senior management team
  • size in terms of locations and sales
  • local, regional and national competition
  • recently completed initiatives
  • most recent news-press releases
  • new trends

Popular resources and periodicals used to research:

To find Industry Articles
findarticles.com –search engine for articles by category, most popular articles, most popular publications
magportal.com – search engine for magazine articles in various categories

Online resources
business.com – business search engine, directory, and advertising network
corporateinformation.com – company research reports with explanatory footnotes
zoominfo.com – 3 million company profiles, information on products, services, and jobs
hoovers.com –profile database with information on companies, industries and executives
searchsystems.net - an online public records directory
yahoo!industrynews -industry press releases and current news
google.com – popular search engine, features include blogs, finance info, news
dogpile.com - metasearch engine, searches multiple search engines at once
wikipedia.org- free online encyclopedia
vault.com - insider information on over 5,000 companies and 70 industries. Includes salary surveys on major employers and company specific message boards.
ask.com – a leading search engine features include blogs, stock quotes, and a local search tool

Some ways to research companies
Online career networking sites
Online message boards
Professional associations
Blogs

Popular Business Journals
Forbes
Business Week
The Economist
Fortune
Money
Inc.
Newsweek
Fast Company
Wall Street Journal
Smart Money
Time

Investigating company culture
To stay in line with corporate culture, companies hire people they feel “fit” and often reject qualified candidates who don’t. During each interview, you have an opportunity to assess how the culture aligns with your values.

The following list can help uncover cultural indicators:

  • See how people are treated- if you can get to talk to someone that works there, take note of how well they are treated by their managers and supervisors.
  • Try to pick up phrases the interviewer repeats in talking about the company and its values.
  • When being asked questions, is there an underlying theme to the subjects you are being asked about?
  • How does the environment feel to you?
  • Are the interviewers organized and on time? Did they give you an interview schedule?
  • Were you interrogated or treated like a guest?
  • Were your responses to questions treated with suspicion or curiosity?

Questions you can ask to investigate the company’s culture:

  • Please describe the company or department culture in three adjectives or short phrases.
  • How does the team handle conflict or differing opinions?
  • How does the company recognize employee accomplishments?
  • Please describe the leadership or managerial style of the company.
  • What are the common denominators of the most successful employees?
  • Is professional and educational advancement encouraged?
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