From reviewing what people say on Glassdoor to keeping LinkedIn in mind, here are 12 answers to the question, “Can you share your best tips on how to best research a company pre-interview?”
- Check Glassdoor Reviews
- Find Out What Their Customers Are Saying About Them
- Dive Deep into that Company’s Website
- Understand the Company’s Mission, Values, and Culture
- Researching Corporate Social Responsibility
- Assess Cultural and Financial Fit
- Review the Yahoo Finance Page
- Reach Out to Past Employees
- Conduct Specific Google Searches
- Light Up Your Network
- Leverage the Annual Report
- Don’t Overlook Linkedin
Check Glassdoor Reviews
Glassdoor reviews come from current or former employees or those who have been on an interview at a company. They can give you an insider’s view into the company culture, the salary range for different positions, and even what to expect from an interview.
While you should take reviews with a grain of salt as they come from personal experience, they are still a good source of information to understand whether the company is a fit or to plan some questions you may ask the interviewers.
Find Out What Their Customers Are Saying About Them
Always look at the company through their customers’ eyes. What is the customer journey like? What are their customers saying about them, and what kind of reviews are they leaving?
This information will tell you a lot about the state of the company, including how they treat their customers, how they react to negative feedback and areas for improvement. This will allow you to pitch your answers in an aligned way. You’ll be able to talk about your experience and demonstrate how you’ll be able to hit the ground running and provide support in driving the business forward.
Dive Deep into that Company’s Website
When reviewing a company’s website, dig far past the first page and keep written or typed notes of essential facts about that company. When I work with my neurodivergent adult clients facing invisible challenges, I often encourage them to spend as much time as possible learning all the details about that company and make sure that they will be a good fit with that company before the interview.
Understand the Company’s Mission, Values, and Culture
It’s important to learn more about the company’s culture and values before an interview. You will be happier in a position where the company’s values align with your own, you feel psychologically safe to speak up, and where you feel supported and encouraged.
The first step is to review the company’s official website in further detail. Often, the mission and values are listed on the “About Us” page. You can also leverage their social media profiles, including LinkedIn, to find more information about their senior leaders to learn about the individuals they hire for leadership positions.
You should browse videos on YouTube, posts/photos on Facebook and Instagram to find out about recent or upcoming events, new hires, the opening of a new location, and the types of services they provide, etc. This can also give you a better understanding of the company’s culture.
Research Corporate Social Responsibility
Candidates who are focused on a company’s purpose, as well as its profit, can look beyond the organization’s website for more information:
- Check out bcorporation.net to see if the company is a Certified B Corporation. Certified, for-profit organizations must meet high social/environmental performance standards to acquire and keep this certification.
- LinkedIn is a great research tool for determining which companies are truly focused on DEI, social, and environmental impact. Simply search for the company page, and then click on the people tab. Type in “diversity,” “inclusion,” or “social impact” in the search bar to view the number (if any) of employees who hold these titles. Choose an employee who you feel might answer your questions best and send a request for an informational interview.
The knowledge gleaned from an informational interview with a company expert will enable you to better understand the company’s corporate social responsibility practices.
Assess Cultural and Financial Fit
Use anonymous networks like Blind, Glassdoor, Angel.co, and Reddit for assessing the culture and financial health of the company. You should be able to understand a few things through these passive research tools, such as:
- Do the company’s growth projections look strong? (so they can support your role in the future)
- Is the company’s culture a good fit with yours? (fast-paced, work-life balance, LGBTQ friendly, etc.)
- Salary expectation. Blind, Levels.fyi, and Glassdoor are great resources for gathering salary info, too.
Review the Yahoo Finance Page
As a career coach, I advise job interview candidates to “research the employer” and make it an important part of their interview preparation process. Obviously, the company website would be the primary resource for learning everything about the organization, its products/services, history, sectors/industry, competitors, founders, and key players within the company
However, in my opinion, one of the best resources to research the company is “Yahoo Finance.” When you are looking for new opportunities, you want to find out the financial state of the organization you are interested in joining. After all, you don’t want to go and work for a company that is going bankrupt next Tuesday.
Reach Out to Past Employees
Go to LinkedIn and follow these steps:
Search bar > Add the company name > People > Filter button > Past Company > Add company name.
Here you can see everyone who has worked for the targeted company in the past; reach out to them and ask about their experience and if they recommend working there.
Tip: Focus on the people who work in the same domain; that’s how you can get more details about the department you’re going to join.
Conduct Specific Google Searches
Conduct a Google search, and find out what makes the company “tick.”
In addition to poring through the company’s “About” section on its website, you can see if they have a “Media” page for you to review.
As well, Google “xxxx company name in the news” to determine any media-worthy stories about them
Finally, you can go to Glassdoor and press the “Companies” tab to obtain employee-submitted reviews on the company.
Light Up Your Network
“Your network is your net worth” is never truer than when you’re preparing for an interview. In-person and LinkedIn, your network will provide you with a roadmap to confidence and connect you with a goldmine: people who were or are in the position.
Before you reach out, remember, a strategy’s strength depends on preparation. Don’t waste time on generic hiring practices questions, go right to culture, growth, team dynamics, or any of your make-or-break topics.
Leverage the Annual Report
An often overlooked, but extremely valuable resource when conducting research for an upcoming interview is the company’s annual report. In it, you’ll find tons of information about the company’s financial performance, key projects and initiatives, future direction, and goals.
When you read through the report, take note of any items that stand out to you or any questions that pop up in your mind. Bring these notes with you to your interview, and use them to inform your responses and guide your questions.”
Don’t Overlook Linkedin
Most companies have a LinkedIn page, and the page’s main purpose is to attract qualified candidates. You can find a stream of posts the organization publishes to highlight information often not found anywhere else
The page also includes insights that include statistics on employee distribution; this can be really helpful to see the internal distribution of employees. The People section gives you insights into other employees’ professional education and area of specialty. For extra information, “follow” the organization so their posts show up on your feed.