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Company Research is Key to Successful Job Search

Knowledge is power. The amount of knowledge you have about a potential employer, and on the industry in which you hope to work, can give you a competitive edge. This pertains both to making initial contact with employers and before going on interviews. Having information on a company is also invaluable when it comes to evaluating a job offer. Employers expect you to know what they do, who their competitors are, and to be knowledgeable on current events that are impacting their organization. Do your homework and research the company before your interview.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers offers the most accurate compensation data available. Use this button to access the NACE Salary Calculator and Salary Data Center.

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Follow the advice below to increase your odds on landing that "dream job"!

  • Research A Company

    Look for and review the type of information listed below.  Find as much information as possible

    Detail recent news about the company

    • Financial results (i.e. stock price, earnings announcements)
    • New products
    • Mergers & acquisitions
    • Change in leadership

      How is the company positioned versus its competitors?

    • What is the market share of key products / business units?
    • What operational advantages does the company have (e.g. production efficiencies, lower labor costs)
    • What intellectual property does the company have?
    • What financial advantages does the company have (e.g. cash, high stock price)

    ORGANIZATION

    What are the different divisions within the company and what do they do?

    • How many people in the division?
    • How much revenue does the division generate?
    • What products & services is the division responsible for?
    • What is the management structure of the division?

    Provide brief outlines of key events in the company’s history

    • Mergers & acquisitions
    • Product development
    • Litigation
    • Management changes
    • Key contracts

    Provide brief bios of key managers in the organization

    • CEO, President, CFO, Founder, Divisional heads
    • Career progression within the company
    • Educational background

    PRODUCTS & SERVICES

    What are the company’s most important products & services and how do they perform versus their peer group?

    • What are their major brands in the marketplace?
    • What is the company’s revenue breakdown by product / service?
    • What market share does each brand / service have (by region, by demographic)?
    • How profitable are each of the brands / services?

    Who are the company’s largest customers / clients?

    • By product / service
    • By region
    • Within demographic segment

    CULTURE

    Describe the culture of the organization

    • What type of personality types are successful (i.e. aggressive, intellectual, entrepreneurial)
    • How many hours are people expected to work?
    • Is it a competitive environment?
    • How does the company foster diversity?
    • Is there a culture of philanthropy?

    What elements of the company culture differentiate it from its peers?


    COMPENSATION

    How does the company’s compensation structure differ from its peers?

    • Salary
    • Bonus
    • Deferred Compensation
    • Options
    • Benefits
    • Perquisites
  • Research The Industry

    MACRO TRENDS

      What are the major trends affecting the industry today?

    • What impact is globalization having on the industry?
    • What regulation is affecting the industry?
    • What new technologies are on the horizon?

    What is the outlook for the industry over the next 12 months & 5 years?

    • How will pricing change?
    • What substitute products are on the horizon?
    • What regions in the world are becoming hotbeds of innovation and production?

    BUSINESS FUNDAMENTALS

    Describe the role of each of the major administrative and operating areas of companies in this industry

    What are the drivers of profitability for companies in this industry?

    • What are the drivers of revenue?
    • What are the most significant expense items?

    COMPETITION

    Who are the major industry participants?

    What are the strengths / weaknesses of the key players?

    • Products / services (i.e. brands)
    • Operational (i.e. capacity, personnel)
    • Financial (i.e. cash, stock price)
    • Regions of the country / world
    • Customer / client segments (i.e. age group, income level)

      CUSTOMERS & CLIENTS

      Who are the customers & clients in the industry and how do they respond differently to the products or services?

    • What types of businesses?
    • What types of consumers (i.e. age group, income level)?
    • What needs does the industry fulfill for its clients and customers?
    • How do industry players market to their clients & customers?
    • How are clients & customers impacted by changes in price?
    • How are products and services delivered to clients & customers?
  • Research The Job

    RESPONSIBILITIES & DUTIES

    What does an average day look like?

    • What time does the day begin or end?
    • What types of interaction is there with co-workers, managers, customers, clients?
    • What types of projects / assignments are completed on a daily basis?

    What are the responsibilities of someone in this role?

    • What specific operational / project objectives are they responsible for?
    • Who are the direct reports?
    • What business development / sales goals are they accountable for?

    KNOWLEDGE & ANALYSIS

    What job specific concepts & terms do you need to know?

    • Industry jargon

    What types of specific analyses are performed on a regular basis?

    • Financial analysis
    • Market research
    • Operational analysis

    CAREER PATH & COMPENSATION

    What is the typical career path before & after this job?

    • What is the average number of years between promotion at each level?
    • What types of experiences are required for promotions?
    • How does the expected skill set change at each level?

    What is the typical compensation package composed of?

    • Salary
    • Bonus
    • Options
    • Benefits

    CULTURE

    Describe the type of people that are successful in this job?

    • What type of personality types are successful (i.e. aggressive, team players, work with limited direction)?

    Describe the typical lifestyle of the job?

    • How many hours are people expected to work?
    • Is weekend work required?
    • How much travel is required?

    EDUCATION

    What academic requirements and professional certifications are required?

    • Minimum GPA
    • What majors are required / preferred?
    • What graduate degrees are required (i.e. masters, PhD)?
    • What certifications are required (e.g. CPA, CFA, Microsoft)?
  • Resources for Company/Salary Research
    Glassdoor.com

    Glassdoor is a career community where past and current employees have contributed over 5 million pieces of content on salary information, company reviews, and interview questions. We have over 300,000 companies, in all industries, as well as over 15 million job and internship postings.


    Career Insider

    Career Insider is an excellent internet-based source for company research, interviewing, resume writing, salary negotiations and other topics of importance to students involved in a job search. The Career Center has an annual subscription to Career Insider's unique career content and services providing UCR students with free access. Simply login to UCR Handshake and go to "Resources" under the "Career Center" tab.

    * For Salary Negotiation, please visit livecareer.com.  

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