What you will learn today:
- How to answer that question: What do you know about our company? What do you know about us? Why do you want to work here? It comes in many forms.
- The real reason why doing research on a company is important
- The kind of research you want to be doing (with examples)
- 3 resources to get the best answer you’re looking for
What do you know about our company? Why do research on our company?
A lot of people are confused about job interviews and how to prepare for them, specifically HOW to research a company and what to look for before you get to the job interview. We’ll talk about 3 things that will help you from going down a rabbit hole in terms of what information you should be looking for and why.
Why research a company before the interview?
This answer is not what you might think.
What are you looking for anyway? And why would you bother to do it?
The thing I want to stress the most is this: the reason you research the company is for YOU. It’s always for you; it’s not to impress them. With this mentality, you will come up with a lot more interesting answers, and you’ll have fun doing this research. It won’t be boring facts, because you actually want to know this information.
The reason you want to know it is that it affects you. It affects your entire life coming up if you get the job with this company. You don’t just want any job. You want to care about what they do as a company. You want to know the things that they like. You want to know how they treat their employees. You want to know if they’re profitable. You want to know how the work that they do affects you. What can you specifically contribute to help? How can they help you in your career? How are they likely to do in their target market moving forward? Why do they make certain business decisions?
All of this stuff is important to you and your future.
So, how do you conduct the research? Where do you look? What do you look for?
The way that I normally see the question answered is in two ways: the ‘book smarts’ way or the ‘street smarts’ way.
Let’s look at an example of each, and you can let me know which one you think is more compelling.
We’ll start with ‘book smarts.’
“I know you were founded in 1976, you have these 5 customers, and you have 117 employees.
If you’re going for the ‘look how hard I studied answer,’ this would be perfect. You could even throw in how many locations they have, how many staff they have in each—stuff like that.
Now, the ‘street smarts’ answer is very different, as you’ll see.
“I can see that you are a successful cloud-based communications software company, your CEO really cares about everyone at the company, and the company has good leadership going for it. You have initiatives, like the 3P and EVO Programs, that help staff with self-development and company improvement.”
Now, let’s take a look at what’s going on here with this answer.
You’re talking about the fact that they’re a successful company, because in your research you can see that they have many big-name clients, and you can see that they have been around for quite a while. You can see reviews on Glass Door about their CEO and how maybe he has 100% approval rating. You can see comments that people have made on there. You can find all this information online (and we’ll get to how to look for it later on). You can check out the initiatives they might offer. They might list these in their job description.
They have 3P and EVO Programs, so the fact that you’re talking about the initiative that they run in their company means that you’ve looked for things that resonate with you and why you might want to work there. So, this answer is substantially different to the ‘book smarts’ answer, which just gives you facts. The reason these facts are not too compelling are because the people that work there know these facts, and they get outdated really quickly. They’re not super interesting to the interviewers.
The ‘street smarts’ answer is a lot more fun to listen to, it’s a lot more compelling, and it speaks volumes about you and what you’re looking for and what you found.
So, where do you find this information?
There are lots of places and techniques to find the quality of info you’re looking for. Today we’re going to talk about 3 resources.
I love the first one, because you can find so much information by looking at what a CEO says in an interview. You simply Google the company name and the CEO’s name with the word ‘interview’ on the end. You can find out so much about what their company stands for by what the CEO will say in an interview. There are certain keywords that he or she will use. You can bet that those keywords will come up somewhere in the company’s communication and with the hiring managers. It’s the ‘company’s language,’ so to speak, and you want to know what it is.
The Company Website
It’s no surprise that this is a great place to start. You can go through the pages and see what jumps out at you. Sometimes it can be boring looking through a company’s website, but it tells you a lot. For example, their careers page is telling.
Using xMatters as an example (that’s where I work). The company has testimonials of current employees, they have video testimonials, some of their clients are also listed, and you can read about what they do.
You can go through the website one page at a time and see what stands out to you and what you really like. What draws you to their company? Why do you feel you would be a good fit? Why do you want to work there? You want to know that for YOU when you go in.
LinkedIn is no surprise, either. But there are so many more layers to LinkedIn that you might know about.
The LinkedIn company page is the first one. You just type in the company page at the top in the search bar on the LinkedIn website, and their company page will likely have a bio and some information there. That’s the first thing you want to check out.
Next, you want to check out people who have worked there (currently or previously). You can tell a lot by the people that work there. They’ll have a description of the company potentially. In their bio they’ll talk about the company, their role, and what they do. You can check out how long they’ve been there, if they’ve moved from one role to another. This will tell you if the company promotes from within. You can tell by how many people have stayed. You can look through the list and see whether or not you get a good feel for the reviews that people have posted there. You can see a lot from real people and what they have to say in their profiles.
And there you have it.
- Why do the research? Remember: for YOU. You’re not trying to impress anyone but yourself. You want to be impressed by them, so that you can go in eager to work there.
- What kind of research to do? You want to do ‘street smarts’ research versus ‘book smarts’ research.
- And finally, the 3 resources for your research: Google the company name, CEO name, and ‘interview’; LinkedIn; and the company website.
Click the link below to download the Step by Step Networking Guide. If you enjoyed the training today and you feel like you’d like some more information, in this Guide you will find information on:
- How to land interviews using networking
- How to research the right people who can help you
- How to by-pass the HR process altogether
- The exact scripts to use to reach out over email or LinkedIn
Thank you for reading.
Natalie Fisher, your Career Lifeguard