Doing Your Research
By: Katreena Hayes-Wood
We’ve all been told to do our research. Research the company; learn as much as you possibly can about the company before you go to the interview. That’s sound advice, but more than just researching the company consider all the areas you need to cover before an interview. The three areas you want to research before your interview include:
1. The Company
2. The Interviewer
3. The Job
Let’s begin with The Company. There are a number of good resources to use when researching companies. There are primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include information directly from the company like annual and financial reports, government documents, speeches by company executives, as well as, company Internet sites. Secondary sources may include information from the media, trade magazines and analysts’ reports.
You can call the company directly and ask their community relations department for annual reports and informational brochures. You may want to begin by checking the local Yellow Pages, to get the basics like location, telephone number, there may even be a advertisement about the company, which will probably tell you what’s important to them and their business. You can also check out the major business directories:
· D&B Million Dollar Directory
· Standard & Poors, and
Some of the Internet resources for doing company research, that you’ll find helpful, include:
Next you’ll want to spend some time learning more about the person with whom you will interview, The Interviewer. If the interviewer works for a large company and has a fairly high profile position, the local library, media sources and Internet may provide good information. However, there is nothing quite like going straight to source, the secretary. Especially, if you’ve tried to do some research on the interviewer and are coming up empty-handed, try calling the secretary. Tell him or her you’ve already tried the obvious sources and that they are coming up short, and if you could ask him or her a few questions about the interviewer. What to ask? Try these questions: 1) Confirm, or ask for their job title, 2) How long have they worked for the company, 3) What department do they manage, 4) How many people are in the department, and 5) Is there anything they can think of that they can share that would help you in your interview.
Finally, and equally as important is researching The Job. Start by calling the company’s Human Resources department and asking them for a job description. If you have a description from the Internet or job classifieds, that’s probably not as thorough as you’ll need. When you get the full job description, go through it and highlight the qualifications you possess. Next take a piece of paper for each skill/requirement that you’ve highlighted. On each piece of paper write two or more of your “work history stories,” that allows you to positively demonstrate that skill. What this will do for you during the interview is help you to prepare for their specific, skills-oriented questions.
Research is probably the single most important thing you can do before you interview. The more information you have, the better prepared you will be for your interview, which increases your chances for an offer. In the words of Henry Ford, “Before anything else, getting ready is the secret of success.”