How to Research a Company

How to Research a Company

We’ve all been there — you see a job that looks perfect for you, and you jump into the application process without thinking it through. It’s an easy mistake to make but a costly one. Planning out company research before applying for a job is essential to assess your fit for the role and the organization.

The company’s culture, industry trends, and how well a company is positioned in the market can help you understand how to add value and impact the role. Researching a company not only helps prepare for interviews and be better prepared to ask informed questions, but it makes all the difference in standing out from other applicants and showing the employer you are the right fit for the job.

This article will guide you in researching a company’s background, products, competitors, financial stability, challenges, work/life balance, and employee turnover rate to inform your job search.

Company’s Background and History

Company mission, vision, culture, and values – how do each of these align with your vision, values, and mission? When looking up a company’s background and history, look for companies that share your values by reviewing the mission statement. Search for information about its founding story, significant milestones, and any awards and recognitions it has received. You can start at the source by reviewing the company’s website and LinkedIn pages.

The company’s website and about us page should provide basic information about its background and history. Research the company’s executive team and any published interviews to learn more about its leadership and the people driving its success. Do the people in leadership roles have mentorship potential? Would you be happy with the new leadership if there was a management shift?

Products and Services

As a job seeker, an important step when researching potential employers is looking into the company’s products and services currently offered in the marketplace and comparing them to their competitors. When a company or business releases a brand-new line of products, a product press release announcement is often used to announce features, pricing, and availability details.

To understand how the company’s performance compares to other competitors in the marketplace, analyze the competitors to obtain valuable information about how the products and services meet the consumers’ needs.

Major Competitors

Once the industry is known, researching the company’s competitors can be done by looking up the company’s profile on business directories such as Hoovers, Manta, and Dun & Bradstreet. These directories provide information about the company’s market share, customer base, and competitors. Additionally, searching for a company’s competitors on Google or other search engines (online communities on social media or community forums) can provide information about the company’s competition. 

Company’s Size and Industry

Search for the company’s financial documents, such as its annual report and 10-K filing, within U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database to get further information on its size and market share. Other resources are helpful, such as industry reports by IBIS World and market research studies by Nielsen, to gain insight into the company’s size and market share compared to its competitors. For additional market research companies, check American Marketing Association’s website here and you can view the complete industry list here.

Financial Health, History, and Stability, Including Revenue and Investors

Do they have a record of layoffs and cutbacks? Are they making headlines for the right reasons? When considering a potential employer, it’s essential to understand the company’s financial health and major investors to gain insight into the current financial situation and its potential for future growth, providing clues about the company’s stability and growth prospects.

Fortunately, this information is readily available on the web. To start, look for the company’s most recent financial statements. This is typically available on the company’s website under the investor relations section. If not, you can find financial statements on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database. Here you can find a company’s annual report, quarterly reports, and other financial information that provides a snapshot of the company’s overall financial health. Next, look into the company’s investors by reviewing the company’s 13F-HR filing, which lists the company’s major institutional investors. This filing will provide a list of the company’s major investors, including the amount of stock they own.

Company’s Major Challenges

To uncover major challenges a company is trying to solve, visit their website, read press releases, and follow their social accounts to get an idea of goals and objectives. Look for statements about new initiatives or technology investments. Pay close attention to any changes in the company’s direction or new products they are launching. These can all provide valuable insight into the challenges the company is facing. Current employees have a good understanding of the company’s current issues and can provide valuable insights. Ask about the biggest challenges the team is trying to solve and how they are being addressed.

Employee Turnover Rate

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual turnover rate in the U.S. in 2021 was 47.2%. The turnover rate is valuable for understanding a company’s overall culture, employee satisfaction, and financial stability. A high turnover rate can signal that the company’s culture is not conducive to a healthy work environment or that employees are not feeling supported and valued. This can be a red flag indicating that the company may be having financial issues. It also indicates that the company may have financial issues, as the cost of hiring a new employee to replace an existing one can be high, ranging from half to twice the employee’s annual salary.

There are a few different ways to calculate the turnover rate within a company. The most common way is to calculate the number of employees who left the company within a given period (usually a year) and divide that number by the average number of employees the company had during that period. This gives you the percentage of employees who left the company within a year. 

Another way is to look at the number of employees hired within a given period and divide that number by the average number of employees the company had during that period. This gives you the percentage of employees the company hired within a year. 

Remember that both methods are good ways to measure turnover rates, but they have their own strengths and weaknesses. The first method shows how many employees left the company within a year. However, it doesn’t consider how many employees were hired within a year. The second method considers how many employees were hired within a year, but it doesn’t give you a snapshot of how many employees left the company within a year.

Philosophy on Work/Life Balance

Will this position work well with your personal life? What are the expectations for availability outside of work hours? To get a better idea of a company’s work/life balance and whether it’s the right fit for you, ask someone who works there to share their experience and look for official statements, media coverage, and reviews from current and former employees. A great resource is This can give you an insight into the atmosphere of the workplace and the values they prioritize. You can also look for reviews from current and former employees. Sites like Glassdoor allow employees to post anonymous reviews of their employer, which can provide valuable insight into the work/life balance at the company. Learn about company culture and employee experiences through external websites like Fishbowl.

Workplace Policies and Practices

Key employment policies include remote work, vacation time, sick leave, pay and benefits, layoffs, and hiring for companies to stay up-to-date on the latest regulations and make informed decisions about their workforce. 

A company’s remote work policies significantly affect employee morale and productivity. A recent study by the State of Remote Work Survey shows that 84.5% of companies intend to continue offering some remote work options after the global pandemic. It’s important to understand how often employees are required to be in the office, what systems are in place to ensure employees are working effectively away from the office, and how to handle the transition from in-office to remote work. 

When researching a company’s vacation time policies, consider the company’s policies on vacation pay, vacation leave, and the number of vacation days employees are allotted. Companies consider policies on how vacation time can be taken, such as whether employees can take time off in lieu of pay or if they are required to take it in full- or half-day increments. For sick leave policies, reviewing the amount of leave allotted, the processes in place to verify the illness, and any other stipulations that need to be considered is important. 

Review the company’s policies regarding wages, bonuses, and other forms of compensation and the benefits offered to employees to understand the impact of pay and benefits on employee retention and morale. Layoffs, reductions, and recall policies include how a company handles layoffs and severance packages, as well as any other processes that need to be in place when laying off employees. 

Due diligence is a process of research and evaluation that helps you determine if a company is the right fit for you. It involves researching the organization, the position, and the industry to gain an understanding of the role and the company. Performing due diligence before applying for a job is essential to making an informed decision and maximizing your chances of success. 

With the job market becoming increasingly competitive, it is important to learn as much as possible about the company, from its mission statement to current projects, to ensure the role is a good fit for you and your career goals. 

As you identify a role of interest, we recommend reviewing www.theorg.com for the company’s organizational chart to understand where a role sits in the organization, the functional divides, and the chain of command. This website provides the title and actual name of the person in part and shows you the org chart vacancies. If you find a job posting online, you can visit the website to learn who the hiring manager is and see how many degrees of separation are from where decisions are made at the highest level. Understanding where your role fits in an organization is important before taking the job.

Don't Forget to Share This Post!

Recommended from Generational Development

Get Your Free E-book: A Guide to Landing Your Dream Job

A Guide to Landing Your Dream Job

You're just a few clicks away from getting your hands on expert insights on how to navigate each step of the digital job market.