Opinion

Online Research and Preparation For Your Interview

Being as prepared as possible is incredibly important to create the right impression in an interview. You need to appear prepared, interested and knowledgeable about the organisation, what they stand for and the people who work for them. Below are some tips on how to research businesses and prepare for your interview.

Explore The Company’s Website:

  • It’s a good idea to research and find out what they do:
  • Annual report (if they have one), usually lives under Investor Relations
  • Size and ownership if they are a subsidiary
  • Latest news
  • Check their company locations
  • Senior management biographies
  • History: When they were founded, how have they developed?

Now and then, a company’s website isn’t very forthcoming especially if they are private and small or newly funded. When this is the case, one option is to take the direct approach by phoning the company and asking about them.

There are some other indirect methods of researching too they include:

  • Companies House web check service: www.companieshouse.co.uk. This gives you a name-check, and a brief record which will tell you when they were founded, an idea of their size (small companies are only obliged to file limited financials) and any name-changes they might have gone through – can be quite informative and indicative eg .If their accounts are overdue!
  • Funding sources: Sometimes running a search on the company name with” funding” or “venture capital” brings up a useful article mentioning their latest funding round. Searchable venture capital sites like www.Tornadon-Insider.com are also useful.
  • Social Networks: www.linkedin.com - useful insight into the employees and people who have been promoted and of the company generally.
  • People Searching:: In addition to well-known routes such as LinkedIn, there are more and more ‘people – searching’ websites now being created such as www.pipl.com.
  • Other Sources of Searching: There are many news sites out there, signing up for a Google news alert covers a good proportion of them and is very quick to do.
  • Check Out The Patents: A quick patent search can also be revealing. Espacenet: http://ep.espacenet.com is a good site to use. Click on Advance Search and put the company into the “applicant” box.
  • Competition Search: A good way to find out who a company’s main competitors are: www.MarketResearch.com requires a free, brief registration process, but once you’ve done that, you can search on the company name to bring up a list of any reports that they appear in.
  • Former Employees: Many job-hunting tips include the suggestion that you talk to a company’s employees. This isn’t always going to be possible which is where www.GlassDoor.com can be handy. This site (also with a presence on Twitter) provides a free inside look at over 80,000 Companies. Current and past employees post reviews commenting on such aspects as what it’s really like to work for their employer, how high moral is and what sort of personality fits best.

All this can help you in tailoring your CV to bring out the most relevant aspects, and - as this is a two-way process – will also help you decide who you actually want to work for!