May 23, 2014
If you’re preparing for an interview, developing a Company Research Overview one-sheet is a very smart strategy. Hiring managers and recruiters look for something called the “candidate desire factor,” which often reveals itself in terms of who’s done the most research in advance and can articulate why they’re a special fit for the organization. Informed candidates take the time to understand the company and its nuances—not just the basic facts about year founded and primary product line but also its competition, strengths, vulnerabilities, and employee sentiment.
That may sound like a lot of time to invest before walking through a company’s doors for a first round of interviews, but as the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a great initial impression, and your level of awareness regarding the company’s uniqueness will help you stand out among your peers and establish you as a serious contender for future rounds of interviews.
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It used to be that to research a company in advance, you had to spend hours at the local library and in many cases order books and magazine articles that could take weeks to arrive. Fortunately today the Internet does all the legwork for you, so you just need to know where to look. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to spend at least an hour preparing information on each and every company where you’re scheduled to interview. To make the data gathering process that much easier, use this following outline to gather your thoughts:
Company Research Overview
|Company Name (include Inc. LLC, or other legal entity information)|
|Industry (primary vs. secondary product lines, SIC code)|
|Physical Address & Phone #|
|Website Address & Findings: Company philosophy, mission statement, target consumer markets, tenure of senior executives, community service goals and charities supported, special awards or recognition|
|Parking Instructions (Costs)|
|Annual Revenue (if publicly traded, sticker symbol, exchange, most recent stock price, P/E ratio)|
|# Employees (domestic vs. international)|
|# Locations (both national and international)|
|Top 3 Competitors|
|Industry Trends (SWOT* Analysis, Growth Prospects)||http://www.bls.gov/ooh/|
*SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
With this one-sheet template in hand, you’ll probably have ample information from the organization’s website to populate most of the fields above. But that’s a given because anyone could do that . . . You’ll want to conduct additional research beyond the company’s website to demonstrate your interest in the organization and awareness of trends in its industry. Depending on whether the company is publicly traded, privately held, or not-for-profit, you’ll have multiple resources to choose from, but the resources below should garner the strongest results in the shortest amount of time . . .
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