Going into a job interview without researching the company you want to work at is professionally
called a waste of everyone's time and your gas.
The smiles you see will be quiet laughter at you.
Many companies are publicly held, meaning there are investors, there are reports
that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, there are Annual Reports
sent to investors and often available free to interested parties. Plus there are many
on-line resources that can provide great insight including long-term projections by
analysts plus local news outlets. In short, you have no excuse with public companies.
Privately held companies are more challenging as they report only to their owners.
Thus your primary source of information will be through people who work there.
INFORMATION YOU WANT
Most of this is available for Public Companies; Private companies may not share
Revenues, Earnings, Costs, Future Plans, Litigation, Government threats, Clients
and other factors deemed proprietary by the private company.
- Is this a public company?
- What were revenues for last year?
- What was the return to investors?
- What profits were realized?
- What is their Fortune Rank, if any?
- How many employees are there?
- What is their industry focus; what industries to they offer goods or services?
- Where are their major facilities at?
- Where are their Headquarters at?
- When did they become a company?
- Where has their growth come from?
- Where are principal manufacturing sites?
- What threats are facing the company?
- What is their public service involvement?
- Where is the company's growth at?
- Where is the company scaling down at?
SO, how do you get the information you need and want for your interviews?
Private companies are not required to file annual or quarterly reports to the
government, other groups, the press or others except for corporate tax filings
and any documents required by law for permits, operating licenses, and the like.
This only requires more work on your part to get the information that is available.
1. Know what the companies does. Use this as a means to search for appropriate Linkedin
Groups that their employees may have joined. Join the group and search for them. If you do
not find anyone, "unjoin" that group and look for another group. Group rules will apply that
may require a Group Owner approve your membership which can delay your access to finding
people through that group. If you are facing a delay, start looking for the next potential group
and go from there.
2. Look for a Linkedin Company Profile which can provide considerable information.
3. Hoover's Database (look online) will sometimes have Profiles on Private Companies.
4. Perform a Google or Bing Internet search for Company information.
5. Nearly every company of any site has a company website. Explore it for information offered.
6. Check local news outlets for any Press Releases or stories published in the newspapers,
Business Journals or broadcast news.
Public companies are required by law to publish information and report to the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) quarterly. While SEC forms can be
very dry and complex, they have one advantage: by law it must be factual
and comply with all required contents, statements and representations.
On March 31, 2017, Linkedin company search indicated 11,352,423 companies were listed.
a) Means to search a company by name
b) From the list of companies, you may click "Follow" to get updates on that company
or if you are Following the company, you may end the following
c) Click on the Company name for additional information
d) From the company's page on Linkedin you can
- See how many people are following the company via Linkedin
- Click Jobs to see current job postings
- See the 1st Level connections you have with people at the company
- Click on Overview for an overview of the company
- Click on Life for information about the company from the employee's perspective
- Click on About Us for additional information on the company
which includes Corporate Headquarters, Employee count in grouped sizes,
their industry type, the website link, recent updates
- Recent posts by the company on Linkedin
5. Company website
If you are unable to find or guess a company's web site there is a change that:
(a) they may not have a website if their size is relatively small, or
(b) they are no longer in business.
As a public company the SEC website using Edgar should provide that information to you.
6. News or Wire Services
Online news services can provide recent stories; may require the Stock Ticker for access.
7. Local News
If the company is local, watch local news and check their website for previous stories.