The point of researching companies and business sectors is two-fold when you are looking to change your job. Firstly, it allows you to make an informed decision about the company or sector you’re interested in. Secondly, it throws up questions that can be asked at interview: you’ll enjoy your interview much more if you have researched your subject. Even a little research can be helpful: nothing makes as bad an impression as admitting you have no idea who you are interviewing for!
Where do I start?
The first point of contact when researching a company is the company itself. Most companies will have promotional literature, annual reports or company brochures that they will be happy to send you, especially if you’ve been called to interview. Increasingly however, companies are also pointing candidates and researchers in the direction of their web sites. This can be helpful in a number of ways, not least of which is the growing number of interactive sites that allows the user to ask questions or even take virtual tours.
Brochures, Reports and Literature
Most company brochures are designed to sell the company rather than it’s products, although some almost take the form of a product catalogue. This in itself isn’t a bad thing because it prompts questions. For example, if they are a retailer where is their biggest market? What is their market share? Does working outside the Euro Zone effect business?
Often the company website is more detailed than their brochure because they are able to update it on a more regular basis. If you are interested in a company, but don’t have their web address here are a few useful pointers:
1. There are a number of search engines that will send you to the company website you’re after, including Google.co.uk, Lycos.com, Hotbot.com etc etc.
2. Dnb.com is the Dun & Bradstreet directory site. It’s free to use and gives a thumbnail sketch of the company and it’s services, contact names, location maps and usually links to their websites.
3. Westpress.co.uk has an excellent business guide, built with Price Waterhouse Coopers, incorporating the top 150 companies in the area and regional breakdowns that can be extremely useful.
Remember, coming prepared can only impress an interviewer and will add weight to your presentation.