Researching Target Companies for Your Job Search

By: Fred Coon, Chairman, CEO

An important step in your job search is researching the list of prospective companies with which you are planning to apply. You determine which companies you will target for your job search based on your idea of the right job.

It is unlikely you will find what you are looking for until you at least have some idea what that looks like. Identifying target companies for a new executive position is not like finding an ensemble to wear for an evening out. You can’t just say, “I’ll know it when I see it” and think you will somehow have the benefit of making the best use of your time, money and other resources.

The companies you target should closely match the criteria you’ve created for your ideal position. (What’s your ideal position? Take this quiz from Fred Coon’s new book, Ready, Aim, Hired.) Don’t be afraid to eliminate companies that don’t fit the profile. It may be tempting to leave companies on your prospects list despite the fact they may not fit the profile you created. But even if you were hired in to the position, it wouldn’t be long before you were on the hunt for a new job all over again. Don’t waste your (or the mismatched company’s) time.

Conducting Preliminary Company Research

If you already have a few target companies in mind, the quickest route to basic knowledge about any company is the company’s website. Most companies will have some kind of online presence – whether good or bad. Check out your first string of target companies by simply performing a search for the name of the company and seeing what you can find out on their site, social media and online jobs platforms like CareerBuilder, Monster, LinkedIn and GlassDoor. Be sure to follow the company on your social media platforms.

For companies you have yet to identify, you can also conduct an online search by pulling specific details from a job description that is similar to one you are looking to fill. Don’t be surprised if the results lead you to a company hiring outside your industry. But make sure whatever target companies make it onto your list are in industries that are experiencing growth.

Conducting In-depth Company Research

Try to get first-hand accounts on specific organizations by tapping into your current network and finding people who may currently be employed with your target companies. These can include people who previously worked with or served as independent contractors with them. Also, check the trades for more insight on industry trends as well as any information you can find on your target companies. Company competitors are also a great source of information, particularly about the industry. Don’t be afraid to head to the local library to wrap up your research by looking through periodicals in the business section and industry reference materials.

There is no way around it: finding the right position means finding the right company.  You cannot have one without the other. The way in which your leadership styles fits the expectations of your targeted organization can make the difference between you being a successful leader and you getting caught in that infamous senior management revolving door.

Your next move is to have a thorough and complete understanding of your history in order to properly present yourself to hiring authorities. Stewart, Cooper & Coon’s Search Accelerator© was created to provide you with a competitive edge in the job market.