8 Reasons To Review Your Prospective Employer’s Website
Targeted job searches, resumes and cover letters, networking, and interviewing work best. But how do know how to target a specific employer? One of the best ways is to review their website. Employer websites contain a wealth of information that can help you tailor every aspect of your job search—from deciding to pursue opportunities there, all the way through interviewing, and deciding whether to accept an offer.
Here are eight reasons to spend time on a prospective employer’s website.
1. Mission Statement. Be clear you understand the employer’s purpose and mission. This isn’t just a question for nonprofits; it’s a question that relates to every employer. Who are they? What do they do? Why do they do it? How do they do it? And how do you fit into this mission? This can help you frame your resume and cover letter, as well as your interview answers.
2. Corporate News. Check out their recent events section. What’s going on? What deals are they involved in? What is their role? Pay particular attention to news that’s relevant to your practice area or practice group. Again, you can incorporate this information into your cover letter. And asking your interviewer about recent developments and events will show that you’ve spent time researching the employer and demonstrate your genuine interest in them and what they do. It can also give you a clue as to the mid- and long-range prospects of this employer, and to their corporate culture. Are they up-and-coming rebels? Or old school? Are they able to adapt to new environments and quickly take advantage of new opportunities? Or are they in a declining industry?
3. Organizational Structure And History. Understand as much as you can about the employer. Do they have offices all over the world? Where’s their flagship office? Are they a boutique? Have they recently expanded or undergone other changes? Again, this is information that might be incorporated into your cover letter or your interview.
4. Practice Areas. Be certain the employer actually does the work you’re interested in! If you’re interested in corporate tax law, make sure they do corporate tax law! Once you’ve done that, take a look at their types of clients, types of deals or matters, industries served, and more. If you have other opportunities, then you might not want to waste time pursuing an employer who doesn’t meet your long-term goals.
5. Professional Profiles. If you know who will be interviewing you, then review their profiles. Look at their career paths. How did they get to where they are today? Do they have publications you can review? Also look for common ground. Did they go to your school? Are they from your area? Is that a Yankees cap on the bookshelf in the background? Look for common ground and discussion points.
6. Recruiting And Professional Development. Larger employers often have a lot of information about recruiting, interviewing, training, and professional development. This will give you tips about what to expect in the hiring process, but also what to expect during your summer or first months of employment. Some employers even include information about diversity initiatives and affinity groups. Your interviewers might not be able to answer many questions about such things (although they might be impressed that you asked because, again, it shows your research), but the hiring director and human resources people can. This information might help you choose one job offer over another.
7. Dress Code. In addition to formal headshots in individual profiles, many websites contain photos of employees at work. These photos show you what employers consider “formal” business wear, as well as what’s acceptable “everyday wear.” Pay close attention! Do you see flashy jewelry and high hemlines? Do you see brightly colored shirts and ties? Do you see everyone in golf shirts or button-down shirts with rolled up sleeves? You’ll need to dress formally for the interview, of course, but these photos will give you a sense of what to expect and the corporate culture.
8. Confirm Location. Really, it should go without saying that you should be absolutely clear on where the office is and how to get there, as well as any parking or other transportation considerations. Take time to anticipate your commute. Is it realistic for you to get to that office during rush hour? Will it affect where you live? What transportation options do you have? And be sure to plan out your route before your big interview!