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Researching the Company You Want to Work For: Importance & Process

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  • 0:02 Finding a Job
  • 1:37 Research
  • 3:36 What To Know
  • 6:19 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

When applying for a job, it's important to research the company you are applying to. In this lesson, we'll look at how to conduct research on a company, including looking at where to do research and what information to learn.

Finding a Job

Kara is looking for a job. She's applied for several jobs, and one of the companies called her and asked to set up an interview. She's excited and also curious about what it would be like to work for that company.

Kara is in the job application process, which consists of applying for a job, interviewing, getting a job offer, and negotiating the offer. During this process, it's important to do research about the company you are applying to. You can do research at any phase during the job application process. However, there are two times that it is especially important to do research: at the interview stage and at the job offer stage.

When you are interviewing for a job, like Kara is, researching the company can make you a more competitive candidate. For example, if Kara's interviewer realizes that she has done research on the company, it will reflect well on her. It will show the interviewer that she's serious about wanting the job and that she's a diligent and hard-working person. Meanwhile, once Kara has a job offer, it's important that she's done research so that she understands what the company is like and what she can expect if she chooses to work there. It helps her make an informed decision.

It's not necessary for Kara to do research at both stages, though she can if she wants. But if she researches the company well during the interview stage, she'll probably already know all she needs to know when she gets a job offer. But if she hasn't done research by the time she gets a job offer, she'll definitely want to learn all she can about the company at that point. Let's look closer at how Kara can do her research and what information she'll want to gather as she does that research.

Research

Kara is getting ready to do an interview at the company where she's working. She knows that she needs to do some research, but where does she even begin? How does she get information about the company?

There are many ways to do research. The three most common information-gathering places are:

  1. Company website: Almost every company has a website these days. Kara's first stop when researching should be the company's website. On the website, she can find out important information, like what products and services they offer, who their biggest clients are, and who the management team is, among other things. One thing that will most likely be on the company website is the mission statement of the company, or a few sentences that sum up the goals and values of a company. The mission statement can be a good thing to read because it gives a quick glance into why the company was founded. For example, if the company Kara is applying for includes in their mission statement that they believe that every child can learn, that's important for Kara to know. She may or may not agree with them, but knowing what they stand for is a good thing to understand.
  2. Other websites: There are many other websites that will allow Kara to get the skinny on the company she's applying to. News organizations may have stories about the company, especially if it is a large one. In addition, there are also websites that allow employees to anonymously rate how good it is to work for a company and/or to leave comments about what the company is really like from the inside. Though Kara shouldn't believe just one employee, because he or she might not have the same experience as Kara, if many employees say that it's a great place to work or that it's the pits, Kara can get an idea of what it's really like.
  3. Networking: Kara can talk to people who already work there through networking. Whether it's talking in person to a friend or friend of a friend who works at the company, or whether it's checking social media for what people are saying about the company, Kara can learn a lot through asking the people around her what the company is really like.

What to Know

Kara is getting ready to do her research. She knows that she's going to look on the company's website and other websites and talk to people in her network. But she's still not sure what to look for. Besides a company's mission statement, what should Kara know about a company?

There are many, many things that Kara can find out about the company she's applying to. But most of them fall into four general categories:

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