Research Your Prospective Employer

Researching a prospective employer can help you make a good first impression at your job interview.

One of the most important things to do in preparation for an interview is to research the company with whom you are hoping to land a job. The simple act of taking the time to learn about the company will make a great impression on the interviewers since intelligent questions can be prepared from the gathered information. Researching information on any company can be accomplished using three different approaches.

The first method of researching a potential employer is through the internet. America's Job Bank is one of the best websites for employer research. Like Monster, it is also a great site to search for job postings. Joe Bank not only contains relevant information about every employer, but it can also give the name and mailing address of the company's hiring authority or human resources department. The next step is to perform an Internet search in an attempt to find the company's website. If the potential employer does have a website, thorough reading of all the available information can provide excellent material for questions to ask during the interview. Many companies now have a "careers" section on their website. These sections often contain items such as descriptions of health benefits, vacation time, work environment, and position responsibilities. Learning this general information in advance can save time during the interview process and allow for more detailed questions about the open position. Finally, it can also be helpful to search a couple of news websites, such as, for recent happenings pertaining to the prospective employer.

The next avenue of research is to go to a local library and look up the prospective employer in the periodical section. Every magazine and newspaper article will be listed. Searching the periodicals can give information such as recent layoffs, stock information, new product releases, the company's market share, and any recent expansion or closing of facilities.

The last and most direct method of gathering information on a prospective employer is to go to the prospective employer itself. Most companies are happy to provide potential applicants with information and brochures about their organization. Often, it is even possible to schedule appointments with current employees, such as managers, to ask informational questions about their organization. Before any information gathering appointment, make sure to look up all the information available about the company by one of the previously-mentioned methods. Since time is valuable, preparing intelligent questions even at this pre-applicant stage will leave the prospective employer with a great first impression. This first impression can be improved upon by sending a prompt "thank you" card.

All interviewers really enjoy interviews with job candidates that have prepared for their interviews. A prepared candidate allows the interviewer the extra time to ask and be asked more specific questions about the position applied for and the company itself. Otherwise, the interviewer ends up reciting all the general information that is readily available either in brochures, at the library, or on the internet. The whole point of researching a company before an interview is to have the best, most informative interview possible.

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