Interviewing 101: Researching a Company

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Interviewing 101: Researching a Company

One of the most important steps in preparing for an interview is researching the company. Employers perceive this as a critical factor in evaluating potential employees as it gauges interest and enthusiasm in the position and the company or organization.

Here are five things you need to know before you start researching:

1. It’s usually easier to find information about publicly owned companies rather than privately owned.

2. It’s easier to find information about corporations as a whole than their subsidiaries or divisions.

3. It’s easier to find information about large, nationally known corporations than about local or regional ones.

4. Check dates of print materials where you can. Newspapers and news magazines are generally current, but other printed resources can be outdates. The Internet can be up-to-date, but sites are not consistently correct.

5. No single library may have everything you need. Consider visits or phone calls to the Chamber of Commerce, the public library, government offices, or trade associations in your quest for information.

Five things you should absolutely find out about a company:

Step 1: Determine if your company is publicly owned.

Publicly owned companies make shares available for purchase; private companies do not. To find out if shares of stock in your company are publicly traded, look at: Stock price listings in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, or a similar source. Check the three major stock exchanges: the American Stock Exchange (www.amex.com), the New York Stock Exchange (www.nyse.com), and the NASDAQ (www.nasdaq.com).

Step 2: Determine if your company is a subsidiary or a division.

If you had no luck in step one, it may be a subsidiary or a division of a larger corporation. To determine the subsidiary status of a company and the name if its parent corporation, look at: Directory of Corporation Affiliations, National Register Publishing. America’s Corporate Families, Dun & Bradstreet. Standard and Poor’s Register of Corporations, Directors, and Executives.

Step 3: Determine if your company is privately owned.

If you think that your company is privately owned but has sizable assets or sales, you could find it listed in a directory. A source of confirmation of status for large private firms is: Directory of Corporate Affiliations, National Register Publishing.

Step 4: Determine if your company is foreign owned.

If your company is foreign owned, your search may be more difficult as many libraries carry only a limited collection of international business materials. Laws are also different depending on the country. To determine if your company is foreign owned look at: Directory of Corporation Affiliations, National Register Publishing. Who owns whom: North American Edition, Dun & Bradstreet.

Step 5: Determine if your company is local, regional, or otherwise small in scope.

If you have not found your company listed in any of the above resources, consider whether it may be a small local or regional company. This type of company is the most difficult to research as limited information is released.

These five steps will help guide you in the right direction as you begin your search. Once you have learned what type of company you are researching, you can then use directories, indexes, financial sources, and other sources such as local newspapers, chambers of commerce, and better business bureaus. A survey conducted by NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) showed that employers respond to candidates who have done their homework and can communicate how they can meet the needs of the company and immediately contribute to the organization. These are the candidates that typically get the job.


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