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Online Resources for Company Research before Job Interviews

3 of 10 in Series: The Essentials of Preparing for a Job Interview

As you begin to research companies before your job interviews, you'll want to know where you can find online resources that have the information you need. Several guides and other resources are available online, with the links provided below.

Privately owned companies are harder to track than publicly owned companies. Local or regional companies are harder to check out than national companies. And discovering the details on a corporation’s subsidiaries or divisions is harder than finding out about the corporation as a whole.

Free guides and tutorials

The Riley Guide’s How to Research Employers page offers a collection of useful resources.

Quintessential Careers includes Guide to Researching Companies, Industries, and Countries.

JobStar Central is a California library-sponsored Web site with organized research leads. The leads are useful almost anywhere in the United States.

Rutgers University Libraries in New Jersey has compiled an intensive guide to company research. It’s stuffed with tons of resources you can sift through and follow up on.

Other free company information

Company Web sites are the best place to begin. Run a Google search on the company name.

EDGAR is a government database that provides public access to corporate information, allowing you to quickly research a company’s financial information and operations by reviewing documents filed on Forms 10-K and 10-Q with the Securities Exchange Commission.

Try these three Web sites to find annual reports:

Business.com is a directory of industry lists that you can use to identify competitors.

Manta Company Profiles makes available basic info on more than 13 million U.S. companies with such details as address, phone and fax numbers, year incorporated, annual sales, number of employees, and contact name and title.

Yahoo! Finance publishes a wide variety of business information you may find useful.

Online social networks such as LinkedIn and Jobster allow you to find people who work at a company you’re researching and ask them about it.

Members of a professional organization may be able to refer you to people who can give you advice. Find them on the site of the American Society of Association Executives.

Employee message boards

Search Google for “employee message board” and add the name of the company: “employee message board Bank of America,” for example.

Also, check the following employee message boards:

Information on smaller companies

For smaller firms, go online to NewsLink, where you can search news sites including hometown newspapers across the nation.

Search local business newspapers published by American City Business Journals.

Go to Hoover’s, Inc. and use its links to order a credit report on the employer. These reports are compiled by D&B (formerly Dun & Bradstreet) or a credit bureau, such as Experian.

Information on start-up companies

When historical data on a company doesn’t exist, you can ask questions of the interviewer: How much capital is on hand? How fast is it being spent? Is additional funding in place?

Additionally, if you can snare a copy of the company’s business plan, review it for probability of success with an accountant, investment banker or SCORE consultant.

You also can make an informed guess about the competence of the principals of the firm by checking out the track record of the management team and financial backers. Try ZoomInfo.

Library copies of Standard & Poor’s Industry Surveys and Plunkett’s Industry Almanacs are other good places to poke around.

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