How To Research About A Company Before Applying For A Job
March 25, 2020
One of the first steps in your job hunting process as an international student is shortlisting the companies that you will apply to. Consider this scenario: during the job hunt you come across a graduate scheme or traineeship or a posting that seems like the perfect fit for you. You look at the desired skills and required qualifications. You know you check all (or most) of the boxes, so you are tempted to directly fill the form and hit ‘apply’. Enthusiasm is good, but the job search will also require you to be patient and strategic.
Before you spend time filling an application for a particular job, there are certain steps you should take and certain company parameters you should consider before going ahead in the process. Why? For one, it will help you filter the companies and the jobs that actually suit you, that sponsor a work permit and that you are qualified for. Secondly, researching before applying can make a huge difference to your responses. Instead of writing generic answers in the form, you can customise your responses and align them with the organisation’s larger purpose.
Bawani Chan, a law student from Malaysia, has attended several assessment centres. Her advice?
Therefore, researching a company before applying is important; here are a few things you should cover in your pre-application research:
Hit the company’s website.
It is a great starting point. Usually, all the information one needs about the company will be available on the website.
If you are pressed for time, it is fine to just skim through. Get an idea of the organisational identity of the company as it can go a long way in helping you design your application better. Basically, you should be able to answer two questions:
If you have sufficient time, examine two pages closely:
This page will give an overview of the company’s area of business, the team structure, a little history and background and its achievements or projects.
This is a little less obvious, but if you want your application to embody the company’s values, you need to first acquaint yourself with those values. When you show recruiters that your values align with the company values, you are giving a compelling yet implicit hint about your suitability for the role.
It is the knowledge of such little details that led Christy Simanjuntak to her current position as Global Credit Analyst at HSBC UK.
Dhruvin Patel, Founder at Ocushield, shares more insight from the employer’s perspective, “Most candidates only look at the website, I think it’s worth digging deeper – check what the latest news about the company is, check their company pages on LinkedIn etc. A candidate saying “I really love what you do here with xyz” would stick out for me. Bonus points if the candidate brings something to the table, too: if they have a suggestion to make, or suggestion as to how they’d perform a certain activity in the company – that shows me that they’re proactive, they’re rolling out ideas & have got their thinking cap on.”
Look up the company’s profile as a recruiter
What are the people working at the company saying about the company? Use websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn etc to find out how the organisation treats its employees. These websites have reviews from the current and past employees, experiences of interviews at the company and other useful insights that can come handy for you throughout the hiring process. It will also help you evaluate the company’s suitability for you.
A pro-tip is to also check out your company on social media. The brand identity that the organisation puts up for the public eye can deliver keen insights for your preparation.
Dig deeper into the role through the power of the network
Very often applicants read the job description but are at a loss to imagine what the job exactly entails. To beat this information lacuna, we have one word for you: networking. It is for such vital but amorphous questions that yu can meet recruiters at the careers fairs or talks at your University. Alternatively, you can also reach out to someone is either currently working in the same position or worked in the past, on LinkedIn or on your University alumni network.
The underlying principle of all your research should be two-fold: show the company that you care and assess your suitability for the position!