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Know Your Potential Employer

When searching for new employment opportunities, one of the most crucial elements of your job search is to gather key information about employers of interest to you. Gathering information about potential employers will help you determine whether a company is a good "fit" for you and what to expect from the hiring process.  This information will also help you tailor your application, cover letter, resume, and interview responses to win over potential employers.

Guideline questions for potential employer research

When gathering information about potential employers, the following questions should be at the forefront of your research. Obtaining answers to these questions will help you prepare employment applications, tailor your resume and cover letters, and excel in interview situations.

  1. Is this employer right for me?
    • Is the work environment one that will be a good fit for me?
    • Are the benefits and pay appropriate for the position of interest to me?
    • Will I find a balance of satisfaction, challenge, and opportunity at this organization?
  2. What does the company do?
    • What is the company’s mission and/or vision?
    • What are the company’s products and services?
    • Who are the company’s customers and/or clients?
    • Who are the company’s major competitors?
  3. Do I have the skillset and background to help the company succeed?
    • What are the challenges facing the company?
    • What specific skills does the position of interest to me require?
    • What examples can I give to prove that I have the necessary skills and abilities for the position of interest to me?
    • How will my experiences (paid and unpaid) help me fulfill job requirements?
  4. What is the company's hiring process?
    • What are the steps involved in the company's application and interview process?
    • Do I have access to all required application documentation?
    • How many people are involved in the hiring process? Who are they?
    • How many interviews will be required?
    • What is the company's timeframe for filling the position of interest to me?

Where to find information about a potential employer

Go online. Visit company websites to find information regarding mission, history, locations, management, products and services, job postings, and other valuable information. Often, you will be able to access company social media platforms via official websites. Visit these social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Glassdoor and become familiar with the content.

Talk to your contacts. Find people who work for the companies of interest to you or people familiar with company operations. Ask your questions and pay attention to their answers and attitudes; both are important indicators of company culture.

Visit the location. If possible, visit company stores, restaurants, clinics, or other places of business to have a first-hand look at company operations.