Researching a company before you apply for a role is really the only way to ensure your application, and subsequent interviews are accurately focused on the advertised job, as well as the company and industry you are hoping to gain employment in. During the entire recruitment process, hiring managers will be looking for candidates that can demonstrate an interest and understanding in their field, especially for entry-level positions where there is no proven track record of commitment to a chosen career path. Whilst undertaking research, it is wise to remember to look to more than one source to verify facts and figures and avoid misinformation. The basic areas to research include the following:
Take the time to fully understand the history of a company and its evolution over time. Explore the values and mission statement that can be found on corporate websites and annual reports, as well as drilling down to hard facts such as core business operations, sectors, expertise and products.
Identify key competitors and be aware that they may differ from market to market and for varying products or service offers. Use company websites and also talk to contacts already in the same business area to find out about market and brand positioning perceptions. Consult industry associations and professional organisations, and spend time becoming familiar with industry media as well as the media associated with the role for which you are applying.
Business News & Financial Reports
The financial press, business pages of local, regional and national press as well as white papers and annual reports can all provide invaluable information into the business strategies and the operational issues facing firms. As a candidate, being able to demonstrate a wider understanding of relevant business issues and current affairs helps consolidate your interest and focus on the job.
Information Specific to the Role
Fully understanding the role and the application procedure is crucial to ensure you fulfil the requirements of an organisation’s recruitment policies. These are normally found on the website, or can be obtained from the recruiter or Human Resources contact you are dealing with. In addition, it is also advisable to research other roles the firm is hiring for as it may give you some idea of how departments are being shaped or if the firm is going through a period of expansion or contraction.