In an earlier blog post, I discussed the importance of conducting pre-interview research and the details you should be sure to learn before you go for an interview. Here are some key resources that you can use to gather this essential information.
The company website. This is the first stop on your research trip. Look for their “about us” tab to learn the company history, their mission statement, their goals, and corporate philosophy. However, don’t stop there. Make sure you are familiar with every aspect of their website and the features it offers.
Hoovers Online and CorporateInformation. (http://www.hoovers.com/ and http://www.corporateinformation.com/) These sites are basically information gathering sites on companies of all sizes where you can learn financials, management structure, names of senior staff members, competitors, and much more. There are parts of the sites that require you to pay for access, however many libraries offer free access to these sites.
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (http://www.sec.gov/) If the company is publicly held you can access their stockholders’ report on this website. Evaluate the company’s prospectus, look at their financials, and learn their mission statement from the reports posted here.
Online news articles. Always conduct a search on http://www.google.com/ to find if there have been any recent articles or news items written about the company’s current events and developments. Another valuable resource is Google News (http://news.google.com/). This specialized search engine focuses on news, journals, and blog websites and you can search by company name.
Information exchange forums. Don’t forget to check sites such as http://www.glassdoor.com/ and www.indeed.com/forum. These are sites where current and former employees can post information about the company. These are often where people go to air their grievances, but even the complaints of a disgruntled employee can offer valuable insight into a company’s problems or needs. These sites may also be a source of information for your interview preparation. They often include the types of interviews and even interview questions other candidates have faced.
Your network. Don’t forget to check with friends, family, and colleagues – they could very well be your most valuable resource for insider information. Use http://www.linkedin.com/ to find people you may know or that know someone within your network and can provide you with pre-interview knowledge.