How to Research an Organization

Do you want to stand out at the career fair or during an interview? The best way to do this is through research. When you enter a conversation with a recruiter or interviewer with knowledge of their organization, including who they are, what they do, what they value, etc., you are demonstrating your interest and initiative. This will immediately help you stand out. 

In fact, failing to do research will negatively impact you. Not only will you frustrate the recruiter or interviewer, you will also miss out on a potentially enriching conversation. You don’t want to spend your time discussing what you could have easily accomplished through a simple Google search. 

So, how can you go about conducting your research? Follow the guide below before attending a career fair or interviewing. The best part is that you can do most of this from the comfort of your home or residence hall. 

Must Do Items

  • Read their mission statement. Every organization has a mission statement that guides their work. This is the best place to start. Reading their mission statement will help you understand their values and determine if they align with your own. You will find their mission statement by looking at their website, often under the “about” section. 
  • Browse their website. Take time to thoughtfully read the organization’s website. Learn about their work, the services they offer, where they are located, and more. Almost every organization will have a “careers” section where they list opportunities at their organization as well as benefits and other HR information. This will help you develop specific questions to ask the recruiter or interviewer. 
  • Google them. Run a simple search of the organization on Google. Check out recent news articles. These are great talking points for your conversation, especially if they just launched a new product or service. If they are a public company, check out their stock price and other financial information. You could possibly find a few red flags that you would want to ask questions about, such as layoff announcements. 
  • Check out their Handshake profile. Most employers will have profiles on Handshake with information about their organization, current job/internship postings, as well as reviews. You will be able to see profiles of other students who have worked at the organization as well as reviews from their experience. You can also see advice for interviewing at the organization from other students. This is an incredible resource that you want to take advantage of.

Above and Beyond Items

If you have the time, we highly recommend also doing the following (especially for your top choice organizations):

  • Reach out to students on Handshake. Through your Handshake account, you can connect with students on the platform from a wide-variety of schools. You can search students based on organizations they have interned with. Reach out to ask questions or set up an exploratory career conversation to learn more about the organization. 
  • Reach out to alumni on Eagle Exchange. Eagle Exchange is an online platform that fosters connections between BC students and alumni. Search the community to see if any alum works or worked at the organization. Reach out to ask questions or set up an exploratory career conversation to learn more about the organization.
  • Attend an information session. Many large organizations will host information sessions for you to learn more about the organization. These sessions are low pressure situations and are designed to be purely informational. Check Handshake regularly to see if organizations you are interested in will be hosting a session. 

For additional guidance on how to prepare for a career fair or interview, schedule an appointment with one of our career coaches. 

Image of Allison Postlethwait Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications
—By Allison Postlethwait, Assistant Director, Marketing and Communications

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