Step-by-Step Interview Research
Congratulations! You have just landed an interview with Company X. What to do now? In order to shine at the interview and know what questions to ask it helps to do a little background research. Here's how:
1. First stop, the Company Website
Find these through Google, http://finance.yahoo.com or directories in the library reference section such as Hoovers and Wards Business. Company websites vary, but often provide news, company history, financials and product information. Remember that this is from the corporate perspective, so you will not want to limit your research to just this source. Be sure to also look at the career section to see what kinds of skill sets the company looks for in general and what the corporate culture is.
2. Investor and Financial Information
If the company website does not provide financial information, you could also retrieve this information from EDGAR at http://www.sec.gov or Yahoo Finance at http://finance.yahoo.com. Pay particular attention to 10K (Annual Reports). These often contain information on marketing strategies, goals and strategic plans.
3. Alternative Viewpoints
Now you know what the company says about itself, but what are others saying? Check OhioLINK business databases such as Business and Industry, Business Source Premier, LexisNexis and Regional Business News. Look for trends in the types of articles retrieved. Is there a topic or issue that comes up often? Is the company hiring or downsizing? Are key executives leaving? Is the company focused domestically or globally? What new products are being developed and why?
4. Make the Connection
How do the things you found out relate to your skill set? Do you have a foreign language skill that matches one of the company's target markets? Do you have previous experience or project work that relates to company's current goals?
5. Salary Considerations
What salary should you request? Go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics labor compensation section at http://www.bls.gov/ncs/ocs/compub.htm and click on the appropriate state and then metropolitan area. This will provide a table of salaries by occupation. The Encyclopedia of Associations in the reference section [link] also provides contact information for industry associations which also maintain salary information. Check their websites.
6. Can't Find Information?
Many small and private companies, especially those that are not traded on the stock market, are not as easy to find because they don't file with the SEC. Try Yahoo Finance at http://finance.yahoo.com. Or, LexisNexis Academic (OhioLINK) compiles directories, newspapers and company profiles. Newspaper Source (OhioLINK) is another full-text resource. Sometimes articles will mention a parent company or contain information that you can use to piece together a profile.