Researching companies and possible issues in the industry

Nancy Anderson
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You want to have all the information you can when considering what companies you would like to work for and researching organizations before you go in for interviews is crucial. If you are really focused on a few companies and you get the chance to interview with one of them, there are several ways to keep up on the current issues that might be facing that company. This goes well beyond the basic concept of reading their website and will distinguish you from other candidates. Here are some tips:
1. Visit their web site first and go back often to the media or public relations section. You want to keep an eye on their press releases to see what is going on in the company. Check this section of the web site again just before your interview to have the most current information on your company.
2. Read the journals or other industry publications that your company might show up in. You can also become versed on the issues facing the industry at large and develop pertinent questions using these issues in your interview. If there is a business journal newspaper in your city, you should be reading it daily.
3. If there is a professional organization that would offer access to the latest news on your industry or company, consider joining it. You can get access to great information this way, often including access to their job bank.
4. Look for people who are often quoted from your target company or from your industry. Search for more information about these people on the web. Maybe they even have a blog.
5. Many companies maintain blogs or a Twitter presence. This is another great way to stay up on the very latest important issues. Be cautious of blogs maintained by company employees that might not be officially sanctioned. While these can still be a good source of information, they can also generate rumors. Always verify your information.
6. Do a general online search on your company and see what comes up. Beware of sites that might not be reputable and double-check any information you may plan to use in your search, or especially in your interview. You want to have the origin, authority and date of any information you find on a web site.
7. Research their competitors. Get a sense of what other companies in the industry are doing as an indication of how your company might stand in the overall industry. This is a great way to learn about events like mergers and acquisitions that can impact your company.
8. Read the company’s annual report. It is often available on their web site.
9. Consult Dun and Bradstreet (a financial report on businesses), which will give you financial information on private companies that don’t produce an annual report. This can give you can indication of the possible financial issues facing your company.
10. Be aware of the corporate structure of your company so you know if they have a parent company or a partner relationship with other organizations you should research. Sometimes this information is not readily shared with the public, but you can generally find information about parent companies on their web site or in Dun & Bradstreet.
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By: Becky Papp

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