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Researching a Company, to Determine “Fit”

 

Career development literature is full of information about how employers decide which candidates they will interview, and how job seekers should best present themselves to become one of those candidates. Job seekers are told to set themselves apart from their competition, and are made acutely aware that employers are scrutinizing their every action and communication during the application and hiring process. It seems that most of the emphasis is placed on how the employer decides what makes a good candidate, or put another way, whether a potential employee would be a “good fit.” But, job seekers should also know how to evaluate a company to decide if it is a good fit for their skills, experience and values. This is where our guidance as career development professionals comes into play.

Teaching clients how to target companies they would like to work for, and helping them research the company thoroughly, allows them to be more proactive in their job search, and opens up possibilities for them beyond just applying to posted job openings.

This process can be overwhelming for job seekers, so we can help our clients along by steering them towards resources that might help. Some excellent sources of company information include the company’s page on LinkedIn, where prospective applicants can learn the basics about a company. LinkedIn can also be used to look up employees from the company, which can give job seekers a sense of the qualifications and backgrounds of people who were successfully hired.

Job seekers can also go to the company’s website directly, and read about the company history, its latest developments, and the company mission statement and vision. Google is also a good resource; it can be used to research what is being said about a company in the media, and to learn who its competitors are. All of this information will help the individual get an overall sense of what the company is about, and it starts to uncover what the company’s culture is.

Company culture speaks to the personality of a company, and defines what a company, from an employee perspective, is like to work for. Understanding a company’s culture is key to determining whether that company is somewhere a person might want to work. In order to research company culture, an applicant can look up the organization on glassdoor.ca, which is a website where employees post reviews of their company and comment on the experience of working there. It can also be an excellent idea to try and conduct informational interviews with current and former employees of a particular company if possible. Again, LinkedIn can come in very handy in locating such individuals.

All of this research can certainly be time-consuming, but it is worth the effort. The more information a job seeker has about a particular company, the greater the chance for a good fit. An added bonus of all of this research is that it will make the client more prepared for any job interviews that might occur; they will be better able to speak about the company and to articulate why they are the right candidate for the job.

 

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Karen Schofield
Karen Schofield, B.A., BEd., CDP is a recent graduate of the Career Development Practitioner program at Conestoga College. She previously worked as a substitute teacher, and also taught adults seeking a secondary school diploma.

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