Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Why and the What of Pre-employment Research

In this earlier blog post, I provided a list of resources you can use to conduct company research. Having the resources don't do much good unless you know why you are conducting research and what you are looking for when doing the research. Let's look at both of these questions.

Why are you conducting research? 
There are several reasons to conduct research of a company. The research process should start before you even apply to a job opening. Companies hire for two main reasons; because they have a problem to solve or a need to fulfill. In your research you are looking for the answer to why they are trying to fill the position. If you can find out what need or problem the company has, you can demonstrate how you can be the answer they are looking for.

The more you know about a company before you send your resume, the more you can target your cover letter and resume to show that you fit into their culture, their values, and their corporate mindset. This same research can help you prepare for the interview. Companies often ask questions such as "why do you want to work for our company?" or "what do you know about our organization?" in the interview. Your research can help you successfully answer these questions.

Conducting research prior to a career fair can also help you set yourself apart from the crowd. Many people walk up to tables at job fairs with no information. Make a positive first impression by introducing yourself, telling the recruiter what you know about the company, and detailing how your skills meet their needs.

What are you looking for?
Using the resources in the attached blog post here is a list of what you are looking for when doing your research:

  • Company History and Culture
  • Business Goals and Mission Statement
  • Community Involvement or Charity Projects
  • Company Facts (publicly or privately held, headquarters, number of employees, annual sales, etc.)
  • Company's Most Notable Accomplishments
  • Primary Product Lines or Services
  • Competition
  • Career Path
  • Latest News, Current Events and Developments that Impact the Organization
Remember, an employer wants you to make them feel special - as though you chose to work for them, and only them. They are not looking for an employee that just wants a job. Arm yourself with facts and information to create a positive impression.

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