How to research a company before you interview

Beyond the website
Prepare for the big interview before you go

The purpose of this guide is to give job-hunters an information advantage before they interview.  This guide showcases a few key resources that will take your knowledge of a company or industry beyond what you can find on the company website or  through a basic Google search.  Knowing more about a company or industry helps you to be more prepared to answer questions, while also giving you the knowledge to ask better questions, during the interview.


Start with D&B Hoovers

D&B Hoovers is a good place to start, especially for job-hunters who are inexperienced with company research.

  • Great for large companies, and publicly-held companies (those traded publicly on a stock exchange such as the NYSE)
    • It’s not so great for small companies.  For smaller companies, use Hoover’s (below) instead.
  • Simply search for a company by name  to find:
    • analysis of a company’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT)
    • general financial information for a company
    • company news and recent developments
    • analyst (stock) reports indicating how the company is valued
    • links to industry reports
    • executive biographical information


Get additional company information with Hoover’s

Hoover’s is also very user-friendly for novice business researchers.

  • It’s great for large companies, but also contains more small and private company information than Onesource.
    • If you don’t find much information about your company in Onesource, use Hoover’s.
  • Simply search for a company to find:
    • company financial information
    • company news
    • links to industry reports (these tend to be more specific than Onesource)
    • executive information

Get company strategy through earnings conference calls

Whey a public company posts their financial information, this is often followed by questions from stock analysts to the company executives.  These conversations are recorded as “earnings conference call transcripts” or “fair disclosure transcripts.”


Find more private company information with Privco

Privco is used to find financial information and profiles for many larger, privately held companies.

  • It can be very difficult to find information for private companies, as there is not a public record for these companies.
  • With  profiles for over 850,000 firms, Privco provides some relief in finding information for these harder-to-research companies.


Read a local newspaper to learn about companies

America’s Newspapers is a wonderful resource to find what the local press says about a company.

  • Use to search for newspaper articles from papers in the state or city where the company is located.
    • This can be a great way to find additional information about companies not easily found elsewhere.
  • From the database home screen, choose a state, then city(optional) to limit newspapers by location.
    • Next search for your company name in the Lead/First Paragraph
    • Use search filters to limit by date or by particular newspaper.


Learn more about the industry in which your company operates

IbisWorld is one of our most-popular and easy-to-use industry research databases.

  • Read about the industry to learn key facts, terminology, trends, etc.
  • Search for an industry by keyword to find:
    • industry performance
    • major players
    • key success factors
    • competitive landscape



Related Topics: Business Topics