I'm interested to hear your tips on how to assess the strategic imperatives, operational approach, and technical underpinnings of a company. In other words, how to do meaningful corporate research to prepare for a job interview and to adjust my focus to a corporate culture?
Hi Ben, a few places to start are:
1) visit the company website which will be rich with information on company history, product, financial information etc.
2) go on line and get the most recent 10 K report which is an annual filing on financials, strategies etc.
3) search on line under " news" for current events in the press
4) listen to quarterly earnings calls--which are published in advance
5) visit any stores if applicable and get a grasp on product , environment etc.
Now, corporate culture varies, but in the end, it's all about results. Be thinking about your skill set and how you can transfer those skills to the company in question and help them achieve their goals and execute their strategies.
Good Luck and thank you for your service to our country.
I once had an upcoming interview for a job I wanted. To prepare I followed all of the advice in the responses by my colleagues here, then made a list of questions to ask at the interview. The questions had nothing to do with the "job". Instead, I asked about company decisions by the board which directed the company through a merger that resulted in closing retail stores, re-booting products, and shaping marketing. The individual interviewing me was caught off guard. He seemed surprised at my preparation and changed the direction of our conversation, becoming more relaxed and friendlier. Later after he hired me, he told me my in-depth interest in the company convinced him I not only fit the job, but I'd be a productive member of the company. The normal Q&A of an interview can go both ways. Try it.
Great question. Go on linked in and identify people that used to work at the company you are interested in. Do whatever it takes to get them on the phone. People who were fired or left usually have an ax to grind and you can find out more about a target in 5 minutes from someone like that than any other source.
Another area of research that should be done is to try and find out about the company culture. Each company is different and no matter how good a company may sound from the earnings, 10K, etc, it may not be a good fit. LinkedIn, as others suggested, would be a good option to learn from actual people who may have or might have worked for the company.
The most effective company or corporate research is done in three steps.
1. Create a list of target companies. This can be created from looking at online job boards and finding companies listing jobs for which you are qualified or doing research at a local library to find companies that operate in your target industry
2. Next, using the internet, look-up each company on your list and gather general information about the company. Also check job boards to see if any of the companies are offering openings for which you are qualified.
3. Network, network, network. Go to American Legion, schools, church groups, any where there may be people who work for any of those companies on your list. The most valuable information you can gather on any company is from the people who work for it. Try to talk to maintenance people or administrative support people. They know more about what is happening in any company than any other group.
These are all great responses.
I would also add ... just try to relax, smile and be yourself in the interview.
Interview prep is great, and is essential, but not the only thing. Be confident, poised, comfortable, and remember to smile! Good luck!
I concur with the others, especially on the 10K and earnings calls. If it's a public company their investor relations page has a webcast of the latest quarterly earnings calls - many times it also includes the slide deck as well. If you listen and look at the site you can gain more knowledge than some current employees at that company. Also, go their executive team page and then Google all the executives to see if they are anywhere on You Tube, CNBC, Bloomberg, or Fox Business talking about the company. Some of it can be staged marketing B.S. but many times it's the straight dope about their strategy and results. Also, the major B-Schools film all the CEOs who come to speak at their schools. Another place to find them talking is Big Think.
I would add Bloomberg and Hoovers to the list of locations for information on the company if it is a public company.
Thanks for your service!
I recommend you look up the company on glassdoor.com - you will get a sense of how the employees feel about management and the direction and culture of the company.
My comments are the same as Mike's above. Yes, you have to read through a lot of financial details that may not interest you but you'd be surprised how you can glean from various parts of the 10K, the annual report (which has some text that is not in the 10K) and from earnings reports and calls.
Hoovers Company Profiles has a lot of information on publicly traded companies. It's a good starting point. Many libraries have free access.
Good Morning Ben, Mike offered great advice. I would add a few pieces:
1) Conduct an informational/networking interview with hiring managers at businesses where you have interest. You will get the human touch as well as gaining individual perspectives on the company and its culture.
2) Reach out to network contacts at LinkedIn and college university alumni sites to gain perspective.
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