Ohio University Office of Career Services

“Wow” an Interviewer by Doing Your Research Beforehand by Alyse K

One of the best ways to differentiate yourself in an interview is to show an employer that you have done your research. In order to conduct your research, a number of strategies and resources should be considered.

A good place to start when researching a company is to identify and research the industry it operates within. In doing so, you should recognize key competitors in the industry along with past and projected industry performance. Also, be aware of recent and current media events affecting the industry. A number of specific resources can be used:

  • Yahoo! Finance provides company profiles by industry of publically traded companies.
  • Hoovers.com provides information on millions of companies and their industries worldwide.
  • Vault’s Career Insider provides industry overviews and is available through Bobcat CareerLink
  • Newspapers are valuable resources that you may also choose to read in order to gain industry knowledge. Copies are available at Alden Library.
  • Google News compiles news headlines and allows you to search through a variety of sources.

Once you understand the industry a company operates within, you should research the company itself and browse through its corporate website. In doing so, a few key areas are important:

  • “About Us”: This section will generally give you a brief profile of the company and may include its history, key figures, mission, competitors, culture, locations, products, and services.
  • “Annual Reports”: Annual reports for publically traded companies summarize past performance statistics as well as provide some direction for what the company is trying to achieve in the future based.
  • “Awards and Recognitions”: Identify achievements and recognitions that the company has received based on its performance and philosophy.
  • “Recent News”: Review past and current media coverage about the company.
  • “Careers/Employees”: Learn about employee policies, programs, and selection process.

After researching the industry and company itself, networking should also be considered and taken advantage of if possible. For specific networking strategies, check out Career Services’ Networking Tools. An insider’s perspective will allow you to fill in research gaps by asking questions and find out what it is really like within a specific company.

Lastly, don’t forget to research market salaries to be prepared when asked during the selection process. See Career Services’ Job Search Resources for guidance. It is important to do this research in order to be taken seriously and be knowledgeable.

—Jeff Sfiligoj, PACE Mock Interview  Coordinator for Career Services


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