1/17/20 written by Oliver Monaghan, Career Connections Center
What does it mean to research an employer? With recruiting season starting and numerous opportunities to network with employers, it’s important for students to know how to effectively research a company. Here are four steps to help you with the process.
1. Review Company Websites and Social Media Pages
Looking at a company’s website should be the first course of action for starting your research. The website is where you can find important information regarding the company’s mission statement, history, culture, products sold, and messages from top executives. Company websites may also feature a blog where posts mention innovation happening within the company, community outreach, and partnerships with organizations or policy makers.
Social Media is also a valuable research resource. A company’s social media platform is often the voice of the company. It can provide insight into what type of culture the company has. Are they making funny posts or are the posts more serious and factual? Be careful not to lean too much into social media, as appearance on these platforms may differ from the company’s reality.
The social media page of a company can also provide important information into current projects the organization is pursuing, their involvement in the community, and news on product innovation. Mentioning a relevant post during your interview is a great way to make a connection with the interviewer by specifically describing a post you connected with.
2. Research Employment Websites
After you have delved through the company website and social media platforms, take time to explore other websites that provide meaningful information about organizations.
Glassdoor: Provides pros and cons of the company from current and past employees, salary information, and even internship reviews.
Buzzfile: Presents company description, contact information, demographics, sector/industry info and other helpful data about millions of companies.
Hoovers: Displays company financial statements, top competitors, sales preparation data, and information about the industry. UF Students have access through UF Libraries.
3. Do Your Outside Research on Industry Trends
Now that you’ve explored the company website, social media pages and employment websites, it is a good idea to conduct an internet search about the company and scan recent articles about them. Google is great for discovering interviews with the CEO, reviews of the company’s products, reports on the mission, articles about the culture of the company and other relevant information that allow you to gain knowledge and display an interest for the company come interview time.
Another important aspect of research is examining the current state of the industry you’re interviewing for, as well as current and expected trends of the industry. Researching competitors of the company can provide some information into the industry. Often interviewers will directly ask you about your insight into the industry, making this an essential step of research. Finally, based on this research you could formulate potential innovations for the company and mention things that the company is currently succeeding at during the interview.
4. Connect with Employees via LinkedIn
Matthew Cowley, associate director for student engagement at the Career Connections Center, emphasized connecting with people through LinkedIn. He suggests to start the process by looking to see if any alumni from the University of Florida work at the company you are interested in. Many alumni often enjoy helping undergraduates from their alma mater. When connecting with employees be specific about the type of information you want to know more about. Some potential questions could be about the company culture or what they like most about working there. Be careful how specific the questions are because some information is confidential. Getting your foot in the door by connecting with employer’s shows that you are eager to join the company and provides another way to share information.
With so many resources available to the public, researching a company has never been easier. Whether you choose to focus on the company website, social media pages, employment websites, or direct information from employees depends on the position that you are interviewing for. The purpose of researching a company is to show the interviewer that you have an authentic interest in them and their industry. In addition, research can provide direct answers to potential interview questions and provide information that can help you decide if the company is a right fit for you. Good luck with your research!
If you have questions about researching employers, please make a Career Planning Appointment through Gator CareerLink or visit us in the Reitz Union.