“Hiring managers are generally skeptical of millennials’ research skills, and 62% said it hurts them in an interview when they have not done enough research or preparation on the company and position.”
– Forbes article Top 5 Interview Mistakes Millennials Make


The employers have ‘searched’ you online – but have you taken time to research them?


There are plenty of articles in the Blogosphere and in newspapers describing how prospective employers will do research or “cyber stalk” applicants through Facebook and other social media means before a job interview. It can be pretty intimidating in an office if you suddenly realize the interviewer sitting across from you may have seen you, via an inappropriate Twitter photo.

It is most certainly your job to take care of your online footprints before the job interview, but another important item on your to-do list before the interview is to conduct a thorough research on the company and if possible your interviewers. Since companies leave an e-footprint just as individuals do, prospective employees can research about the company they may or may not be working for. Through such a research you can gain valuable insights on the company culture and future growth potentials, thereby giving you an edge during the interview and also making your decision to join or not easy.

Here are 5 ways to do research on a company:


1. Start simple: the website.

A company’s website will tell you all of the good things about the organization (or at least, the things they want people to know), including history, the team, as well as milestones. Then, when it comes to the interview process, you’ll be able to understand where the company is coming from and what they might be looking for when it comes to the future.


2.  Check out the company’s social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other outlets.  

What kind of posts does the company write? Is it active? If you’re in marketing and a prospective employer has no online presence, then just by looking at their social media accounts, you can tell the company what you could do to better build and establish the brand.


3.  Through Informational Interviews.

Look up your LinkedIn profile to find out if you know someone who works for the company you would be interviewing with. If you don’t find any, don’t stop looking perhaps someone in their network works there.  You can search for company name under the search area on LinkedIn.com and find people who are in your network or connected to people you know. If you see that someone has worked for the company in the past, or is currently employed there send them a connection message, and ask that person what it was like to work for the company. Many people would like to help if asked appropriately.


4. Check out review sites.

Sure, there’s Angie’s List, which reviews consumer services in areas like plumbing and more, but there are also sites like Career Bliss and Glassdoor.com which allow people to find out what employees think of the company they once worked for. If the prospective company is featured on Career Bliss, read about the organization to find out what actual employees have to say about work expectations and conditions.


5. Do a Google search.

Google is a powerful tool – and perhaps the most used tool during your job search. Sometimes just by searching for a name you find information with which that particular person wouldn’t necessarily want to be associated. Through Google, you can look for blog posts, news articles, and more pertaining to the company—both the good and the bad. The same goes for Googling yourself—this is a good counter-technique if you are worried about what prospective employers might see while searching for you.


Job interviews are kind of like blind dates (and can be just as uncomfortable). You get to sit with a stranger and answer questions about yourself in the hopes of future meetings.

The only difference between the two situations is that you can control the research you do about a prospective company; you can’t really do too much research when it comes to a blind date (especially if you don’t know the person’s last name). But if you research a prospective employer, the job interview will be less awkward, and you’re more likely to come off as yourself because you did your homework.


About the guest post author:

Megan McLachlan is a career writer for Sociology Degree Programs, a career and education retarget for those interested in getting started in a sociology or social work career.