How Researching Company Websites Can Help Your Job Search

Updated December 15, 2022

Researching a business before submitting a job application is a useful way to ensure that your documents align with company preferences. By researching company policies and requirements, you can design an application that matches the demands of the prospective employer. Regardless of the industry or position, understanding how to research effectively can help you identify important information and help distinguish your candidacy. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide on how to research businesses in a way that complements your job search and provides valuable insight into the companies.

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How researching company information supports job applications

Researching company practices and standards is an important part of the application process. It refers to the process of reviewing a company using an objective metric. This information can help you determine salary expectations and to understand the organization's goals better. Thorough vetting of a company ensures that you apply to reliable businesses with genuine opportunities. Researching a business takes a small amount of time and can help you protect your interests as a candidate, ensuring that you spend your time seeking real opportunities.

Related: Research Question Examples (With Types and Definitions)

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How to complete company research

The following steps outline a systematic method of company research that can help you identify the correct application approach:

1. Review the official website

Once you see a job advertisement, researching the company website is the first step in the application process. This step allows you to decide on whether the organization is authentic and actually has a career opportunity. It also allows you to review basic information about the business. You can use this time to examine its base of operations, the basic business structure, and its overall positioning strategy. The website, and its mobile optimization, can indicate its modernization and help you decide on ways you can benefit the business.

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2. Verify any company information

Businesses register with local organizations, both as a marketing strategy and a method of providing authentication. You can check the company against relevant databases to ensure that it's a genuine corporation in this country. This raw data can also help you determine where the business operates primarily. It also allows you to ensure that all licensing and registration remain current and that the opportunity is genuine. Checking that a company has no active lawsuits or other actions is another important part of vetting it. This includes bankruptcy claims and can help candidates avoid insecure opportunities.

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3. Review social media profiles

A company's website is the official, standardized presentation of its services and products. In its social media, an organization usually attempts a persona, where it develops an attitude that facilitates its long-term goals. Examples include sport-focused companies and local real estate agencies. The social media presence of a business personalizes the company and enables you to assess several things about it.

First, with social media, you can see how frequently the business posts, telling you whether there is a dedicated marketing professional at the company. Infrequent posting and inconsistent technique indicate a marketing opportunity. Conversely, frequent posts show that the company has well-established values. This allows you to create an application that aligns with these ethics.

Related: Understanding Social Media in the Workplace (With Tips)

4. Create a document to record results

When you pursue an employment opportunity, it allows you to research a variety of companies before committing. By creating either a spreadsheet or word document, you can easily track the results of your research for individual businesses. Make a column for the date, business name, job opportunities, personal notes, position requirements, benefits, and hiring manager's name. Consider adding a column to denote the closing date for each application. You can customize the document to your preferences because its purpose is to help systemize the data you gather during research.

Related: What Is a Results-Oriented Resume? (And How to Write One)

5. Identify the hiring manager

During your research, if a company emerges as a favourable potential employer, it's useful to determine who the hiring manager is. In your document, note the first and last name of each manager, alongside any pronoun preference. Ensure that your research reflects the company's current situation by cross-referencing it against the official registry and the job description. Interviewers usually possess industry-specific experience, and it can support your candidacy to learn about both the company and the background of its senior staff.

Related: What Is a Recruiter vs. Hiring Manager? (With Differences)

6. Assess any corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives

CSR initiatives are projects that companies undertake to benefit their surroundings. Many come with the support of grants or tax benefits that allow organizations to continue operations while supporting worthy causes. These include diversity and ecological concerns and usually relate directly to the company's founders or its operations. For examples, a mining company can choose a carbon-offset CSR. Learning these CSR methods can help you present yourself correctly by ensuring that your application aligns with company standards.

7. Determine economic factors

When researching a company, it's useful to gain a better understanding of the overall industry. For example, if a sector declines, the salary opportunities reduce, but the opportunity for upward mobility rises. Conversely, if there is a massive upturn in a certain industry, such as food services or entertainment, it indicates the presence of many roles, though it suggests that there is ample competition. During your research, dedicate time to learning about the general industry and decide on whether it aligns with your career goals.

Related: What Is Political Economy? (With Types, Theories, and FAQs)

8. Identify likely interview questions

Researching companies for prospective employment opportunities involves learning about the application process. Identify the most popular interview questions for each position and consider how to approach the answer for each business. The company research can help inform your responses, because it shows the values of the business and what it seeks from new employees. Consider how you can respond to the most common questions. Take note of the responses so that you can practise for interviews more easily.

Related: 10 Brain Teaser Interview Questions (With Examples)

9. Learn popular interview question responses

Depending on the business, the method of responding to a question differs. For example, a traditional company may prefer more formal answers to its questions. More modern start-ups that emphasize personality and candour often prefer a personalized approach to the response. When you research a company, consider it as an individual persona, determining what it likes and dislikes. Use this to inform the ideal responses to common questions in your field. Customizing your answers during interviews can help you relate to potential employers more easily.

Related: A List of Executive Interview Questions and Their Answers

10. Identify outlying ideas

When researching an industry, it's useful to incorporate competing ideas and approaches. Look at the different methods and ethical considerations that relate to the business. Determine the most common approaches and assess the outlying opinions. It can help you relate to the industry in a more intimate manner, gaining an understanding by gathering context. For example, if a software company opts for a specific technical approach to manage data that's cost-effective, there is likely another that focuses on security, despite the extra cost. Consider the different opinions and research on how a company relates to the overall ethos of its industry.

Related: Understanding How to Find Outliers in Statistics (With Tips)

11. Assess the opportunity

When you research a business, a main consideration is its standing in the marketplace. Assessing the security and risk of a job opportunity requires research. Consider aspects such as how long it's been in business, its reputation, and its history. Decide on whether the position you seek is sustainable and whether the company has a proven history of reliability. Researching the organization itself usually yields results about its leadership, and this can help you determine the company's priorities. Using this information, you can assess how reliable a job opportunity is.

12. Consider competitor companies

Any company research includes gaining a thorough understanding of its competition. This allows you to speak to the industry challenges and identify ways that you can contribute. Competition analysis allows you to assess the average salary for a position, given the company's standing. It also helps you gain a thorough understanding of the available opportunities. Most job searches include multiple job applications, so learning about competitors both saves research time and provides data for cross-referencing.

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