News & Events

A Guide to Researching a Company


Employment & Learning

Look for companies that share your values

By researching a company’s core mission, you’re exploring the company goals and seeing if they resonate with your interests and passions. Read reviews from past and present employees covering areas like company culture, salary, job advancement and work/life balance.

Learn about the company’s business operations

How does the company make money? Are they highly rated? Is the company a start-up, or if it’s been in business for a while, how has it grown over time? The answers to these questions will give you an idea of how stable this business is, what some of their immediate concerns might be, and how you could play a part in their success. You can get this information from the company website. Public companies typically post annual reports and other public financial documents online.

Research the company’s leadership

When a company captures your interest, you should get to know who is leading the way. Research the employees who hold respected positions within the company by reading the “About Us” page and employee bios on the company’s website. Seek out the social media profiles of executives and department directors.

Ask your network for opinions

Seek opinions from trusted, reliable friends and associates. After you have done your research, ask people you know for the inside scoop on their own company’s culture and if there are opportunities. If you’re a recent graduate building your network from scratch, ask university advisors for names of alumni working at your target companies. Consider reaching out to these people for a quick coffee.

Set aside the time necessary to research properly

It’s important to note that this research does take time.

Review related local news stories, forums and business journals

If you’re interested in working for a smaller private company, you may have difficulty tracking down information online. Fortunately, there are thousands of media sources—including national and local news, trade publications, business journals, forums, and blogs—that provide articles and product reviews. Also try your local Chamber of Commerce offices or the Better Business Bureau.

Understand the type of company you want to work for

If you are in a career transition or a new graduate, you may want to start by building a list of industries that best suit your knowledge, skills, and interests. The National Job Bank has compiled a comprehensive list of industries to start with. Navigate by industry and company ratings to find a variety of organizations that will fit with your new goals.

Be strategic in how you share your research in an interview

After learning all you can about a company, you may be tempted to showcase that new-found information during the interview. But be sure you do so strategically and to your benefit. Use the information you have learned to connect your skills and experience to the job description, goals for the department, and vision for the company throughout the interview.

Company research is time well spent for developing knowledge of an organization, preparing for interviews, and writing an eye-catching cover letter. It also helps you make an informed decision about whether a company is a good match for you.

Information on our Job Search Program at the YWCA Employment and Learning Center can be found at:

Employment & Learning

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