Janet Hindle, our Careers Information Adviser, provides some tips on how to research companies for the application process.
Employers want you to convey your enthusiasm for their company and for the job they are advertising. A common reason for rejecting candidates at the application stage or at job interviews is an apparent lack of interest or knowledge about the organisation. How can you make sure this doesn’t happen to you? The answer is to research the organisation and their opportunity thoroughly. Your findings will help you target your application and perform better at interview as you can talk about your experiences in relation to the company culture and values.
There is a wealth of information available online to help you:
Job description – If you are applying for a particular role this is the obvious starting point to help you demonstrate how your particular skill set fits their requirements. Often there will also be some background details which can give you more insight into the company ethos.
Company website – Always read the company website extensively. Does their product or service have a unique selling point (USP)? Look for press releases about the company’s history and progress. Read about their key milestones and innovations. Find out about their organisational structure and whether they have associations or partner institutions. What are their corporate values and what is the work environment like? Mission statements can reveal the technical skills and personal attributes they look for in their employees.
Press and external websites – Look out for stories about the organisation, their sector and their competitors. Find out about how they are doing in relation to their competitors and how they are perceived. If something significant such as new legislation has happened recently try to think how this will impact on the company/sector. Blogs are also a good source of in depth information and analysis.
Industry publications – These will give you an excellent insight into the sector as a whole, eg. main players, current threats or opportunities. You can find relevant publications for different sectors if you choose ‘Career resources’ on our website.
Social networks – You can use your networks to develop contacts within an industry. LinkedIn is particularly useful, enabling you to search by industry keyword to find a list of relevant companies and make connections. There are also company Twitter and Facebook accounts which you can follow to gain an insight into an organisation. Our website has advice on how to make the most of your social networks. Review sites such as WATRL and Glassdoor can also be good sources of information.
You may also be interested in our recent post which details the advanced features of our exclusive vacancy, events and employer database.