RESEARCH POTENTIAL EMPLOYERS
THE CAREER PLAYBOOK GUIDE
2. RESEARCH: Identify the companies
that have a need you can fill. You will recognize
this through research and speaking to people
within the organization. There you will learn
some of the challenges they are facing or problems
they are having. You can then take this information
and think of ways to help them solve these problems.
This is the true value you bring to the employer,
and what will separate you from the competition.
How Do You Select Potential Employers? Research.
The job interview is a two way process. You are trying to
decide if you want to work for a particular company, and
they are deciding whether they want you.
There is only one way to determine if the job and employer
is right for you while impressing an interviewer with your
interest and enthusiasm in their firm. Research.
By investing the time up front, focusing on the key issues
you want to address in your research efforts, you will
be prepared for unexpected questions and maximize your chances
for success. Information gathered during this process will
help you determine what the company is looking for in a
candidate and enable you to ask informed questions during
Having this knowledge will allow you to clearly demonstrate
how your skills and achievements precisely match the company's
needs -- and more importantly -- your immediate impact and
contribution to the organization's bottom line.
Research your target company to find out what problem(s)
they have -- that you can solve! Employers
want candidates who are problem solvers. Regardless of your
chosen field, if you are good at what you do, it's because
you can solve problems.
Good salespeople overcome obstacles to make sales. Good
technicians overcome glitches and find solutions. Good managers
overcome problems and get results. People who are good at
what they do solve problems every day.
Any job you apply for has problems to be solved. To win
over the interviewer, you must create a positive impression
of the value you will bring to their organization.
During interviews, position yourself as a problem solver
rather than a job candidate. You do this by showing your
interviewer(s) that you are the right person for the job
because you can deliver the solutions they need. For example,
when responding to a problem solving question you might
say, "Here is the way I see the problem" and then explain
Sources of Information
Company Web site
The first place to start your search is with the company's
Web site. Try typing "www" followed by your company's
name to see if you can find it. If not, try a search using
any one of the popular search engines like Yahoo, Excite,
Ask.com, GoTo.com, Google etc. The site can provide all
kinds of pertinent information that can be critical in your
Industry Web sites
Often specific industries have Web sites devoted to trends
and current news in that particular field. Again, utilize
search engines to locate these industries. To conduct a
search, simply type (in the search field) the industry "type."
A list of industries corresponding to your search will be
Company Annual Reports, Brochures, Pamphlets, and Newsletters
If your target company is publicly held, chances are its
stock is traded on a major exchange like the New York Stock
Exchange or NASDAQ. These companies are required to publish
free of charge, their annual financial disclosure reports.
This information is invaluable as it provides critical data
on their current and future goals, objectives, priorities,
management philosophy, and commitment to quality issues
People Working for the Company
Do you know someone who works for the company, or a friend
of a friend that does? If so, you can ask them specific
questions about the company such as, how good are the products
and services? Have they developed or are they utilizing
new technologies? Are they expanding or downsizing? How
is employee morale? How supportive is management, etc. Extracting
this information may provide you with critical knowledge
determining whether or not the organization is a good fit
for you. If it is, then this may give you a distinct advantage
over other candidates that did not bother to uncover this
When possible, try to learn as much as you can about your
interviewer, i.e., where he/she was born, educated, areas
of expertise, likes, dislikes, achievements, etc. Additionally,
are there any touchy subjects you should know about and
avoid discussing during an interview? The more you know
about the company and the interviewer, the better the odds
you'll get a job offer.
Please be careful how and from whom you attempt
to acquire this information. Privacy issues are at stake
here. Most people don't like others snooping into their
lives regardless of how honorable your intentions. If the
interviewer finds out you have been prying into her life,
she may direct her anger at you by doing everything she
can to prevent you from getting the job regardless of your
skills, talents, sparkling personality and accomplishments.
Chamber of Commerce Directories
Chamber of Commerce Directories are rather subjective but
otherwise a good source of information. Most cities have
a Chamber of Commerce and they publish directories of its
members, listing basic data as: the date the company was
founded, its principals, number of employees, products and
services. This can be especially helpful if your job requires
relocating to another city. You'll learn: businesses
both large and small, present/future development projects,
education, entertainment, leisure, recreation, and cultural
Better Business Bureau
A good way to check if your target company has a higher-than-average
number of complaints filed against them, and their history/reputation
for satisfactorily resolving these issues.
Other Companies or Customers
Contact companies that do business with your target company
and/or customers who use their products or services. Speak
to competitors and ask how they feel about the company.