Researching Companies: How to Make Sure You Know Your Stuff

Dan Partington is one of our Senior Recruitment Consultants within the Bridgewater Graduates Division. Part of his role includes coaching our candidates through the recruitment process, so it’s safe to say he’s an expert when it comes to the do’s and don’ts of the job hunt! One thing he believes to be important to anyone seeking a new role is researching companies. This is what he suggests.

I deal with numerous candidates on a daily basis, offering the best possible advice to help them get the job they really want. Many of them ask me what they need to do to impress their potential employer throughout the application stages. While there are many things you can do, making sure that you’ve done some digging when it comes to researching companies can really give you the edge.

Research, research, research – I can’t stress this enough! Even when you’re just applying to a job, if you know who the role is with (this isn’t always the case when working with recruiters – it’s best not to guess), have a quick look into the company so that you can tailor your CV and covering letter. Whoever reads them will know that you’re genuinely interested in working for their business. These little touches make such a big difference when you’re job hunting – you need to do as much as you can to stand out.

Making sure you’ve conducted some thorough research before a telephone or face-to-face interview with the company is crucial; not every candidate will do this, so you’ll immediately be at an advantage. However, it’s worth remembering that it’s unlikely that an interviewer will say: “Ok, now tell us what you know about our business.” Therefore, you need to walk into that interview equipped with all of the relevant knowledge, but also with some idea of how you will work this into your responses.

So, what sorts of things should you be researching? Here are some good examples of facts you should have up your sleeve, ready to use in your interview:

  • Their history
  • Their products/services and industry
  • Their recent achievements/events/news
  • The company culture
  • Any statistics linked to the business (e.g. sales, number of staff)
  • Who are the business’ main competitors?
  • Who’s in charge?
  • Do they work with any charities/the community?
  • Look up the interviewers (on LinkedIn, for example)

Why go to all this effort? Well, it’s not all about showing off what you know and trying to butter up the interviewer! Yes, it makes a good impression and shows that you’re enthusiastic about the opportunity, but it also demonstrates certain attributes employers are on the look-out for: dedication, initiative, the ability to research and self-motivation, to name but a few.

Where to start researching companies

A great place to start is obviously the company’s website – but your research shouldn’t end there. To become super-savvy about the business in question, you’ll need to broaden your resources. Have a look at their social media pages – these are a great way to find out what’s going on within the business and amongst the staff. Not only will you find out more about the business, but they may have recently posted about something interesting that you can use in your interview.

Other lesser known ways of conducting thorough research on a company include: looking up the business on Glassdoor (for honest reviews on what it’s like to work for them), checking for news articles about the business/industry and doing some LinkedIn stalking (take a look at the company profile and the key players in the business). If you’re feeling particularly brazen, you could also try and get a bit of inside information. I’ve had candidates in the past that have actually called up posing as a sales client or they have even gone into a branch of the business to speak to current employees and see how they work! It’s a bold move, but you can find out things that other candidates might not this way – just be careful!

From my experience, our clients love it when they meet with candidates who have clearly done their research into the business – and, between you and me, these are the candidates that are much more likely to get the job. So, what are you waiting for? Get researching!

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