Researching the Company

It is key to have a good understanding of the company you are applying to, as it allows you to have a better sense of what to expect and how you might fit in.

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Look at the Company Website

The starting point when researching a company is the company's website.  This is the ‘shop window’ of any company, so you should pay careful attention to details within it, across all sections, including when you are applying for a position with E3 Consulting.  Remember that many companies will purposefully put information on their website which will be particularly relevant to people applying to jobs, for example a careers section or an advice section and obviously you should have reviewed these.  To get the most out of the website, it is good practice to review it systematically, going over it a number of times to ensure you do not miss any useful information.  Some particular questions to ask yourself are:

  • What is the core business of the company, and what are its unique selling points?  What does the business do, and what does it deliver?
  • What differentiates this company from all of its competitors, and how will your skill set and work ethic complement this?
  • What size is the company?   You should consider the benefits and disadvantages of working within different sized organisations and how that affects your interview or potential employers.  Think about whether you prefer being in a small team which can potentially be more personal or a larger environment.  Larger companies often have more rigid roles, whereas smaller companies sometimes have more flexibility, responsibility and variety.Wellingtons

Where Do They Fit in the Market?

  • Who are their customers?  These are likely to be the people you are dealing with, so it is important to be aware of who they are, and how typical they are of customers within the sector.  What is the profile of their clients in terms of location and type, and are the services offered business to business or to individual people?
  • Who are their major competitors?  This is important information, which will help you to see where the company stands within the marketplace, as well as showing you how this company differs from others in the sector.  A good way to find out who the competitors for a company are is to look at professional bodies within the sector, which often have a directory of members or a way of finding a practitioner in that sector.
  • Pay careful attention to the company culture and ethos.  If you will be working at this company, you need to know where the priorities of the company lie, and you need to consider how you will fit into this.  This can often be found in the ‘About Us’ section of the website.  Some companies have a separate section on ‘Charity Work’ or ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’, which can demonstrate their proactivity and commitment to their wider community involvement.  Not all websites will go into detail about the ethos and values which are cultivated.  However, you can form an opinion from the manner and tonality of wording and how open and transparent the company is based on what is included on the website.

The People

Do research background details on directors, managers, partners and other employees.  For reference, look at the company's website and social media, including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  You may also see if any senior or junior staff have their own blogs.  More senior people within the company may have written articles, may comment on online sector blogs or may speak at public conferences or lectures at universities.  From this, you can get a sense of how proactive the business and who its key staff are.   You may also be able to find out who will be interviewing you, and discover what their interests are, which should help you to build rapport.

What Else Can You Find Out?

You should also pay as much attention to what is not on the website as to what is, and you can use the websites of the other companies which you have researched to compare and contrast.  Constructive feedback on information you have found or ‘gaps’ can be very useful for companies and also demonstrates your desire to be adding value.  Do be mindful of the way and manner in which you do so though; it may have been drafted by the interviewer!

If you have any connections, directly or otherwise, with the company, or know anyone who has worked there, ask them what it is like, which will give you a real insight about what it is like to work there.

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