To put yourself at ease in any work situation, our main tip is – do your research! This goes for applying for jobs, heading to an interview, going to a networking event etc. Not only because it will impress the company you’re meeting, but also because it will give you more confidence in these situations, knowledge is power. It’s a 50/50 meeting, they are deciding whether you will fit with the company and you need to decide if they’re the right fit for you. So, what should you be researching and how do you find the right places to do it?
Why it Matters
Educate yourself about the companies you identified as being of particular interest.
In the initial stages, when deciding where to apply, your main focus should be to determine whether a company is a good fit for your personality and ambitions. Find out about the business, industry environment and corporate culture; consider suitable roles and future prospects.
Once you have decided where to apply, thorough research will pay off, by giving you a real insight into the company and strengthening your chances throughout the application process:
Tailor your CV and application
Show why you are interested in their company/job/scheme.
Understand what employers are looking for, so you can convince them that you are the ideal candidate.
Perform better in interviews
Demonstrate your enthusiasm and knowledge.
Ask pertinent questions.
What to Research
What business are they in – products/services?
What is their ‘ ?’
Look at the company website – ‘About Us’ section.
In which markets and locations do they operate?
Who are their major clients and competitors?
Current performance and reasons behind this – Are they expanding via new markets/products/acquisitions, or downsizing/consolidating their business?
What about the financial health of the business? Check the summary in the annual company report.
Future opportunities or threats? Think about the environment they operate in e.g. is it a growth industry/highly regulated/fast-developing/reliant on technological advancements/influenced by global issues?
Be aware of any news or business developments (environmental, political, economic, global or competitive) that might affect the company.
Corporate culture – Understand the core values and ‘personality’ of the organisation.
Why do you feel you would fit in?
How are they perceived by the outside world? What is their online reputation?
Type of organisation – have an idea of its size, structure, global/regional locations and basic history.
Ownership – Is it a public company, family run, funded through venture capital or a start up business?
The Job/Graduate Scheme
What is the employer looking for, in terms of specific and general skills, qualifications, experience and personal attributes?
What does the work involve?
What training would you receive?
What is the likely career progression?
Where to Research Information about the Job & Employer
The Job/Graduate Scheme
Refer to the relevant company website or job advert for specific requirements.
Also look at other adverts for similar roles, to build up a picture of what employers typically look for.
Types Of Jobs – Prospects
Profiles on hundreds of graduate jobs: includes job description, salary, entry requirements, training, career development and related jobs
Employer Hubs – Target Jobs
Graduate vacancies, internships & work experience.
Profiles of individual employers, including info about their recruitment process, what they look for & tips on how to get hired
Website – About Us section. Also look for newsworthy developments
Annual company reports and literature
Blogs give an insight into company expertise, attitudes and corporate culture
Financial & Business News & Views
Read the business sections of newspapers, online news, trade publications and company reports.
BBC Business News
News, insight, videos and financial markets
The Economist – Business & Finance
News & opinion
Search relevant sections – business, technology, health etc.
Check YouTube, podcasts and talks for relevant topics:
2000+ talks on hundreds of topics
Useful for research and pure entertainment!
From the Harvard Business Review – short weekly podcasts featuring leading business thinkers (generally 10-20 mins). Subscribe to the Podcast channel, or search downloaded episodes (Online, App or iTunes).
Current and former employees: Contact them via your university careers service & alumni, LinkedIn, or your personal network.
Other people associated with the organisation e.g. clients, agencies etc.
Anonymous employee-generated content, offering an inside view of jobs and companies
Reviews by employees – pros, cons & advice to management
Salaries, hiring process & interview questions
Employee reviews & job listings (You can upload your CV)
If this is feasible e.g. retail and service companies – go to the shops!
You can tell a lot from how they run their business, deal with customers etc.