Researching a company online before a job interview provides insight as to how it operates, including upper management's desired goals and the products and services the company offers. Knowledge about the company also equips you to ask relevant questions to determine if the job is the right fit. Explore the company's website, research industry-specific details and find out as much as you can about the hiring manager before you interview.
Visit the Company Website
Research the company website to get a well-rounded picture of how the business operates. Go to the "About" page, read the mission statement and familiarize yourself with the history and current leadership. Then, focus on customer-oriented pages such as product and service descriptions, guarantees and costs, suggests author, editor and technology expert Dave Johnson, in an August 2013 CBS MoneyWatch article. Read customer reviews and press releases, so you're prepared to answer questions about why you want to work for the company.
Research Corporate News
Do a general search for the company's name to find news about its reputation and recent achievements. Most companies don't post negative press on their websites, so the goal is to find a wider range of pros and cons about the business. You may uncover more information about the corporate history, the types of clients the company attracts and the company's finances. Visit online business journals such as Harvard Business Review or Fortune. Filter content by date and look for the most current news, so you won't be surprised if the hiring manager mentions recent changes in management or the overall business structure. You'll be better equipped to answer questions on how your skills might contribute to the company's needs.
Research the Company Culture
Read corporate blogs written by human resources personnel. There's a chance you'll be reading content written by one of the persons interviewing you, says Johnson. Read through the comment section to see how co-workers, clients and staff respond. Pay attention to blogs written over the past few months: you may learn something that isn't listed on the "About" page. Use content from the blogs to ask educated questions about the company's short- and long-term goals and your potential role. Avoid asking questions that have obvious answers, such as the company's hours of operation or physical address -- those can be answered with a basic Internet search.
Visit Social Networking Sites
Ask the human resources department for the name of the hiring manager who'll be interviewing you. Look her up on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, but don't overtly refer to personal information, such as her kids' names, during the interview. The goal is to carry on a relaxed, yet completely professional, conversation. The hiring manager's social networking profiles may disclose how long she's worked for the company and professional organizations she's involved with. Look up other employees to get a feel for the company culture and values, suggests Hannah Morgan, author and career expert at U.S. News & World Report .