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Research, Research and Research before a Job Interview
  • The person with the best information wins. Research every company, industry, field, and location you're interested in. Be the resident expert.


  • Caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. If you take a job and later find out the company's in trouble, you have only yourself to blame. Look before you leap.
  • Make friends with your local librarian. Libraries are great storehouses of information. Learn how to use Infotrac, a data retrieval software program, to source current information on companies.
  • Visit your library regularly and park yourself in the business section. Read all the business periodicals to stay current on business events and trends.
  • Maintain research files on companies, fields, industries of interest. If the company is publicly held, call the company's investor relations department and get an annual report and any other available information.
  • Current information is the best information. Annual reports are fine, but the real lowdown on a company is found in newspapers, business magazines, and trade publications.
  • Keep a file on every company you research and fill it with articles, Dun & Bradstreet/Moody's reports, and general information. You'll need it later for the interview.
  • You want to make sure there are no skeletons in the closet of a prospective employer-like a possible takeover, shaky financials, poor senior management, or a threatening litigation.
  • If the company is local, visit the corporate office and ask for the information in person. You may get material not commonly sent out. You'll also get a chance to demonstrate just how resourceful you are.
  • What are the fastest-growing companies in your area? These companies may not advertise openings, but they're hiring.
  • Be a research junkie. Read everything you can lay your hands on. Stay current. Know what's going on.
  • Opportunities are everywhere. A change in senior management spells personnel changes down the road. New management wants new blood. Learn to read between the lines and anticipate openings.
  • New management at one company points to openings at another. The new guy had to come from somewhere. Call to find out if that position has been filled.
  • Think hot industries: telecommunications, tourism, entertainment, personal services, multimedia, educational software, nonprofit, legal services, information services, healthcare, biotech, environmental, waste management, education, and training.
  • Think major social trends: aging population, education crisis, healthcare crisis, technology, revolution, multiculturalism, women in the work force, rise in crime, homelessness. Trends mean opportunities.
  • Devour the business section of your local newspaper (s) every day for news on local businesses. Read The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Forbes, and Business Week for the big picture.
  • At least once, spend an hour with The Dictionary of Occupational Titles. You'll get a mind-blowing trip through 30,000-plus job titles organized by career families. The possibilities for jobs are endless.
  • Research job hot-line numbers. Most big companies and many professional associations have prerecorded employment hot lines that list job opportunities. Take advantage of this free service.
  • Visit the Career Placement Center of your local college and/or junior college. They have a good reference section on local employers with job postings to boot.
  • Don't forget your greatest resource for insider information-current or past colleagues, vendors, service providers. Ask everyone you know for information. You may be surprised by who knows what.
  • Always know how much you're worth in the marketplace. Check it out with professional associations, classified ads, even colleagues. You may be surprised.
  • What to research? Everything. Industry/market trends, number of years in business, annual revenues for past five years, products/services, management changes, competitors, future plans.


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