The most notable feedback we get from employers is that too few candidates are doing thorough research on their company before applying and interviewing for jobs. Whether you’re talking to a recruiter at a job fair, writing your cover letter, or interviewing for an open position – when an employer asks what you know about their company and you have no response; or you reply, “I don’t know”; or you ask, “what does your company do?”, you can be sure that you won’t get that position.
Why? A few reasons. One, researching an organization shows your genuine interest and investment in the position. Employers know that you might be applying for multiple positions, but they want to know why THEY are one of your top choices. Not having a response to the question, “what do you know about us?” proves that you are disinterested in the position and lazy about putting in effort. Two, you’ll be better able to perform the job duties if you have an understanding of how the position contributes to the company’s overall mission and goals. You may not be the CEO, but your position does play a part in the success of the company. Lastly, there are other candidates who have done the research. If you and one other candidate are equally qualified for a position, and they’ve done their research and you haven’t, they will get the job over you.
So what kind of information should you be researching about an employer?
Company’s full (and accurate name):
For example, you may know the world-class fantasy destination to our north as Disney World, but it’s corporate office is The Walt Disney Company. Referring to a company by its accurate title shows an awareness of an organization’s corporate structure.
Company’s website and social media accounts:
You should know the website and will likely find useful information on it. Be sure to follow the company’s social media accounts – including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to learn about up-to-date events and achievements. Additionally, part of your job description as a new professional might be to contribute to the social media accounts – so they’ll expect you to have some familiarity.
Company history, mission, vision, values:
You can find this information on the company’s website in the About Us website. You may have to do some digging for this information, perhaps pulling from a published company report that highlights its prior year achievements. But doing this extra work and being able to reference the info in a cover letter or interview might be what puts you ahead of other candidates. You can also connect this information to your own work values and traits to show the employer that you’re the best fit for the position.
Reputation in the industry:
Glance over the organization’s recent awards in an Awards, News, or Press Release section. When you meet the employers, congratulate them on their recent achievements!
Future plans for growth or new services/products in their goals and strategic plan:
Again, you may have to do some digging on the website but if you can reference that you will contribute to the company’s goals for the years to come, it shows your investment in the position and your plans to stay with the company for a lengthier period of time.
Learn as much as you can about the hiring committee members who are interviewing you, along with the information about the president or CEO and their own personal values and characteristics. You never know who you have something unique in common with.
As always, if you need any help with researching employers, stop by our office or call (230) 590-7946 to schedule an appointment with a career advisor!