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The internet has proven to be the greatest source for identifying current job openings. Job seekers now have the capacity to surf job boards and corporate Web sites night and day, everyday. If you’re out of work and it’s 2 a.m. and you can’t sleep, you can turn on your computer to search for jobs until fatigue sets in or daylight arrives.

The internet provides speedy avenues of high quality research. Being able to research a company with ease is a remarkable asset during your job search. My clients tell me that arriving unprepared and not doing enough homework on the company is a common reason on why a candidate is easily eliminated during the first round of interviews.

The following tips are a guide for research prior to your next interview.


Normally, you will have a few days notice prior to your interview. If your interview is set in less than 24 hours, try to reschedule to give you enough research time. Do not accept an interview unless you have completed your research. If the company is publicly traded, their Web site is the obvious place to start. You will find important data on sales, product lines, brand names, partnerships, new products, etc… The corporate mission statement will reveal the corporate culture and core values. During your interview, when you can relate your values to their values, you will score big points. Privately held corporations do not list sales volumes or profits, but most will list mission statements and product descriptions.


When the company’s Web site yields limited information, get creative and find informational links. The best and most popular search engine is Google.com. Just type in the company name and browse the results. Yahoo.com is valuable for city and regional information. Hoover.com will give you comprehensive company data and will lead you to more business links. Some of the research sites may charge a fee for in-depth and detailed data. Be open to paying a small fee when necessary. Comprehensive research data will be your best friend during an interview.


What can you find out about the company’s industry? What is their standing or ranking? Who is their competition? What does Wall Street say about the future of the industry? What does your stockbroker say about industry trends? Don’t have a stockbroker? Ask a financial advisor to help with your appraisal. There are Web sites dedicated to specific industries and Google.com will guide you to industry-dedicated Web sites. Dunbradstreet.com is an excellent website for financial and stock market information. Every industry has a trade association of member companies. If you can’t find the association from the company Web site, call the company, ask for their public relations department and they will tell you their memberships and Web links.

RECAP: Before any interview, you must be prepared and your research completed. Delay the interview if more time is needed. Don’t wait until the night before to cram your information. Understanding the company’s culture and mission statement is vital in presenting your background to parallel their environment. If the interviewer senses you’re unprepared, your words will ring hollow and your desire to work for the company will be in doubt.

PLEASE NOTE: emails received become the property of "Dear Headhunter" and may be published unless otherwise requested. Questions may be edited for content and length. All questions will be reviewed, some without a reply.

George Gurney has been a leader in the employment industry since 1976. He founded an executive search firm that conducts domestic and international assignments.  He has won numerous awards for recruiting excellence.  He has been a guest speaker at national conventions and seminars.