Finally: A Simple Step-by-step Guide to Employer Research

employer researchYou’ve heard the advice a million times: “Before the interview, do your employer research.”

And yet one of the top complaints by recruiters, hiring managers and HR professionals is that many candidates come in into an interview unprepared.

So exactly how do you conduct thorough employer research? What questions should you be able to answer? Where do you find the right answers? And how do you know how outside influences might affect the company?

Follow this simple step-by-step guide before your next interview. You’ll arrive with a better understanding of what’s important to that organisation… and how you can add real value.

Questions to Explore

Find the answers to these common questions to give yourself an advantage when starting work placements or internships:

  1. What is the story of this organization?
  2. What are its stated values?
  3. What is the name of the person who owns or runs the organization?
  4. What services or products does it provide?
  5. Who are its main users or customers?
  6. What are the benefits for users or customers?
  7. What significant successes has the employer had?
  8. Who are its main competitors?
  9. What are the main challenges in this industry or sector?
  10. What do other people (customers, competitors, employees) say about them?

Where to Look

  • Company website: latest news, press releases, products and services, awards, testimonials, ‘about us’, our values.
  • Employer’s social media accounts: follow, comment on posts, say hello.
  • LinkedIn: profiles of the company/people who work there (what keywords do they use?) and discussion groups (what are the hot topics?)
  • Employee reviews on sites like Glassdoor provide clues as to the real culture.
  • Industry or sector news: relevant websites (including professional institutions), online newsletters, magazines and newspapers, social media.

Use the PESTEL Strategy for Employer Research

Use PESTEL to learn what is happening and coming up that affects your employer:

  1. Politics (policies, white papers)work placements
  2. Economics (funding, cutbacks, profit)
  3. Social (demographics, diversity)
  4. Technology (new tools, impact on ways of working)
  5. Legal (laws, regulations)
  6. Environment (green energy, recycling, community) or Education (training, learning, qualifications)

Employers want to see professional quality employer research performed by candidates. Be proactive. Work hard. Show genuine interest in the organization. And you’ll shape exactly how the employer perceives you.


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Learning to Leap!




David Shindler AuthorAbout the Author: David Shindler is the author of “Learning to Leap, a Guide to Being More Employable.” An experienced coach and people development expert, David specializes in developing and accelerating employability. He also runs the Employability Hub (a social learning community and resource center) and the Learning to Leap group on LinkedIn and Facebook fan page. Tweet David, or contact him via his website.



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