How to research companies when looking for a job

research companiesLooking for work is not just about finding a job. But its about finding a place that will be a good fit and where you’re likely to be happy. The best way to achieve this is to carefully research companies that you can target in your job search.

This is an important step in the job search process. The more time and effort you spend upfront, the more likely you are to find a place that’s right for you.

Forget the job search boards. They usually don’t yield favorable results. Instead be proactive. Research the companies in the industry you’d like to work in. Find out the name of the hiring manager, and contact them directly for an informational interview. Not that many people use this tactic, but it works.

A good resource to find the hiring manager, the person with the power to offer a job, is the American Job Center’s employer locator. There are more details on this subject at our website.

Best ways to research companies

But what’s the best way to research companies? You can do the obvious like check out their websites, if they have one, and their profiles on LinkedIn. You can search the internet for information and articles about the company and possibly its executives. A good place to find articles and names of local company executives is in an American City Business Journal weekly newspaper, if you live in one of the 43 cities where they are published. All ACBJ newspapers are online and are invaluable resources, but they do require subscriptions. Many libraries in the cities where they are located have the publication in both hard copy and online formats, however.

Local chambers of commerce serve as excellent resources for those looking for jobs, especially at small companies. These chambers are not just for big cities either. Many medium-sized and small towns have them as well. And many, if not most, have a website with a directory of member businesses, their owners and contact information. The easy way to find them is to do an internet search using the name of the town or city and state followed by “chamber of commerce.”

Be creative in your research

If you really want to find out what it’s like to work in a particular company, you need to be a bit creative and dig deep into internet resources. And don’t neglect to do this. If you think these are only for white-collar, managerial or administrative work, they’re not. These sites include the whole gamut of companies and job types.

Here are a few sites that can help you:

LinkedIn – If you have a LinkedIn account you can check a company you’re interested in, see who in your network works there and get together with them to learn more about what it’s like to be an employee. Once you get an interview, it’s a great place to find out more about the hiring manager’s background.

Great Place to Work – Not many job seekers seem to use this resource, but it’s a good way to find companies with workers who are happy to be there. You can search lists of the best places to work in certain industries or places. You can also search certified companies by search terms, industry, state or size.

GlassdoorGlassdoor offers reviews written by current and former employees about life at particular companies. There’s even a section with reviews of people’s interview experiences, often with the questions they were asked.

Indeed – Another website that offers reviews and salaries, Indeed includes companies – from Sittercity and Starbucks to Apple and AT&T – that provide all kinds of jobs.

CareerBliss – Although similar to the others, Careerbliss provides a bit of a twist. Dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace, it features a list of the 50 happiest companies in America with links to job openings at each of them.

Fairygodboss – Unique in that its reviews are written by and for women, Fairygodboss emphasizes things like maternity leave and work-life balance. It also incorporates articles and a pregnancy newsletter.

Comparably – Another, newer, review and salary website, Comparably has the tagline “Making Work Transparent & Rewarding.” It includes a company culture rating that measures how employees feel about their (non-monetary) benefits and the company’s culture – in other words how happy they are to work there.

Social Media – Although not everyone has them, you can get an idea of how a company wants to present itself by checking out its social media sites. Their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts can offer insights that you may not be able to get elsewhere.

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