Researching Potential Employers

Using any search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing), you can find a wealth of information on company Web sites and in online newspapers, magazines, and databases, including annual reports, press releases, company histories, products and/or services, numbers of employees, ownership, and other information that will be invaluable during your interview.

Imagine going to an interview armed with the company’s latest sales figures, product development ideas, opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses. What if you knew the latest trends and competitors in your industry? This kind of information would give you a definite competitive advantage during the interview.

How do you access this information? You simply type in the keywords for your search (a company name or topic) and send the search engine to do its job. You may have to narrow your search if you end up with 200,000 hits, but the first few pages of the search results should be sufficient to get you started.

You will be much more successful finding information on public companies than private ones, since publicly held companies must reveal their financial information to stockholders and to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Larger companies make bigger waves, so you will find more information about them in publicly accessible sources, like newspapers and industry journals.

Begin with the company’s own Web site, but don’t stop with their job listings. Check every section of the company’s site for press releases, mission statement, annual report, and awards. Make sure you leave the site with information about the company’s personnel, history, products, basic structure, financial health, organizational hierarchy, and reporting structure. Pay close attention to the design of the site, since it will tell you a little something about their culture or philosophy—funky, young, contemporary, cutting edge, traditional, or conservative.

It is very impressive at an interview to know what a company’s competitors are doing, so don’t limit your search to the company itself. Try searching by product or industry, for example, pharmaceutical, and not just Merck or Eli Lily.

Use the following terms as your search criteria in any search engine, and you will be amazed at the amount of inside information you can find on a company: blog + company name (don’t forget to use the + sign, and of course, replace the words “company name” with the name of the company).

A number of companies even allow their employees to create Web pages where you can learn a lot about a company’s culture. You can send e-mail messages back and forth to these same employees and develop networking contacts within the company.

University archives are another incredibly rich source of information about almost any topic. They can be accessed via the Internet just like the company information above. Simply search by company name or topic, and you will find everything from information databases to student theses on almost any subject imaginable. While searching for information on McCormick seasonings, I recently ran across a term paper in a university archive that covered the company’s history in great detail. This kind of information will strengthen your performance during an interview and help you decide whether or not a particular company is your kind of place.

After you have researched what the company wants you to know about itself— which is what you find at its own Web site—do more searching to discover what other people are saying about it as well. The following Web sites will provide you with additional information on individual companies and/or industries.

Company Research
Argus Clearinghouse
Better Business Bureau
Corporate Information
CorpTech Database of 50,000 High-Tech Companies
Dow Jones
Dun & Bradstreet
Eliyon Technologies
Fortune Magazine
Hoover’s Online
Intellifact Research’s Company Research
The Public Register’s Annual Report Service (PRARS)
RefDesk Facts on the Net
Search Systems/
Thomas Register of American Manufacturers
Internet News.Com
Yahoo Ticker Symbol Lookup
Yahoo! Finance Company and Fund Index

Newspapers and Other Periodicals
ABC News
American Journalism Review
Anchorage Daily News (AK)
Boston Globe On-line (MA)
Boston Herald (MA)
Business Journals
CBS News
Chicago Tribune (IL)
Dallas Morning News (TX)
Editor and
Fast Company
Fox News
Hampton Roads Career Connection (VA)
Harvard Business School, Baker Library, Local, and Regional Business Publications on the Web
Houston Chronicle (TX)
Inc. Online
Industry Week
Los Angeles Times (CA)
Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune (MN)
New York Times
News and Newspapers Online
News Bank
News Directory
NewsCentral Links to 3,500 Newspapers Online
USA Today
Wall Street Journal
Washington Post
Worcester Telegram (MA)
ZDNet E-Business

International News Resources
African Business and Economy
Arab Net (Middle East and North Africa)
Asia Source
Asian Development Bank
Canada’s Business and Consumer Site World News
European Business Directory
JobFutures (Canada)
Hoover’s Online United Kingdom
Import-Export Bank of the United States
Inter-American Development Bank (Latin/South America)
Rubicon’s Digital Passport
U.S. State Department
The World Bank Group
P.O. Box 244, Hurdle Mills, NC 27541
Tel: (919) 245-3525  •  Fax: (919) 869-2020

Copyright © 1980-2020
All Rights Reserved

National Association of Resume Writers logoCertified Professional Resume Writer logo NRWA Volunteer Executive Board


ProType, Ltd., and Pat Criscito uphold the industry's highest Code of Ethics as outlined by the National Resume Writers Association.