Employer Research Strategies

Before you build a better mousetrap, it helps to know if there are any mice out there.
—Yogi Berra

And you thought your research days were over! In reality, if you are good at mining the mountains of information to find the nuggets of gold, it will pay off handsomely in your job search and in your future career! Consider the fact that your future career may lie with a company you have never heard of before. You will find that company through your research.

It is likely that you have not yet heard the name of your future employer.

Utilizing your research skills can provide you with a nearly continuous flow of information to which others do not have access. Yet it is not enough just to find the information. You need to put it to work for you. For example, right now you are reading an insider book that very few other college grads have access. Are you using all of the information in this book to its fullest degree? Don't just read this book and think to yourself, "That's interesting. I bet that would work." It will not work until you put it into action!

One critical aspect of job search preparation that can truly set you apart is employer research. Employer research is what brings you together and keeps you together with those who have the power and authority to offer you your first position.

Employer research serves a dual purpose. First, you need to identify and target specific hiring companies in your job search. Second, you need to gather detailed information about each target employer in order to be adequately prepared for making direct contact. That detailed information will then provide the foundation of a successful interview with that employer.

Sadly, many college students know little if anything about the employer they are contacting or interviewing. The quickest showstopper can come when I ask (whether on the phone or in person), "What do you know about our company?" If you have not even taken the time to do this basic research, why should I commit further time in my busy schedule to speaking with you? Unfortunately, few are able to respond with even the industry basics. Strike one. Fewer still are able to articulate any information specific to our company. Strike two.

Yet it doesn't have to be that way. Employer information, even detailed information, is usually available for the basic price of some simple digging. It's out there waiting for you to discover it and bring it to the surface. The end of the interview is not the time or place to begin gathering employer information. If you are serious about your job search, do your best to acquire detailed employer information before you make contact with the company. It is those who are well informed from the start who consistently are given the opportunity for company-site interviews and eventual job offers.

Job search is a two-way street. Don't just go begging for any job. Doing detailed research on each potential employer will assist you in deciding which companies you may have an interest. And it will give you the ammunition you need to be successful in securing a job offer from the employer of your choice.

The source locations where employer information can be found include (in order of ease of access): the Internet, your Career Center, campus library, public library, and direct company contact.