Interview Advice

How to Research a Company For Your Interview

The key to succeeding in the interview stage is research. Learn how to efficiently and effectively conduct research to feel confident and prepared for a successful interview.

Tanishi Naik
Published: (Updated: ) - 8 min read

Photo by / Unsplash

The information you need for your interview is easily accessible through a myriad of resources, but sifting through the relevant data can be challenging. Read on to discover some tips about how to effectively research a company for your interview.

Why is this important?

Researching a company before an interview is key to succeeding in the interview stage. Thorough research is important not only to familiarize yourself better with the company you’re interested in working for, but showing enthusiasm, knowledgeability, and curiosity is important to becoming a stand-out candidate. These traits will naturally come across if you can describe your interest and ask thoughtful questions about the company and position you're interviewing for.

Researching a company beforehand will prepare you to answer common interview prompts such as “Why do you want to work here?”, “What interests you about this position?”, “Describe how your previous experiences align with this role” and “How do you align with our company values?”

Feeling prepared before the interview will also lend itself to building your confidence and demonstrating your enthusiasm for both the employer and the role, helping you to perform better during the interview itself and creating a memorable impression.

Want more interview preparation? Check out these commonly asked interview questions and how you can ace the answers!

Understanding whether or not you are best suited for a company and a new position will also come from learning more about the company’s history. A basic investigation will reveal workplace culture, mission statement and policies, and information about how an organization differs from their competitors.

Prior research into a company’s goals and challenges can often underline the kind of responsibilities or challenges you might encounter in the new role, subsequently revealing the requirements of the position as well.

Did you know? Every Simplify job posting includes a description of the company you're applying for and the role's requirements. Check out a Simplify posting today!

Prior research into a company’s goals and challenges can often underline the kind of responsibilities or challenges you might encounter in the new role, subsequently revealing the requirements of the position as well.

Remember that just as much as a company will choose to hire you, you decide where and who you want to work for, so be sure to make an informed decision!

Figure out how they differ from their competitors

One of the key reasons behind researching a company before your interview is to find out how your prospective company stacks up against their competition. This is important to gauge the longevity of the position you’re applying for and how the company you're interested in is currently performing within the industry.

No interviewee is bound to accept their first offer, especially if they can pursue a successful and enjoyable career with a competitor, but first, it’s important to understand what the competition looks like so you choose to explore other options as well.

To find out how the competition differs, seek out how their products or services stand apart from the ones your prospective company is offering, particularly by finding out their unique selling points or what their advantages are; Why are they the competition at all?

Websites and blogs

Comparison and ranking websites examine factors such as products and services, workplace culture, innovation, and more, but be wary about paid affiliate websites intentionally promoting one company over another. Understanding these factors can help you determine whether or not a company has a strong growth prospect for the future, or perhaps if you should begin pursuing other options.

Most companies have areas within their website that not only outline the advantages for their customers but for their employees too. These pages look like About us or Careers sections that explicitly detail their mission statement and why any individual should apply to work for them.

News articles and press releases

Of course, a company will say only positive things about why you should choose to work for them, so be sure to look into sources such as news articles or press releases that will generally provide insight into any negative reception the company has received recently. News articles and press releases can also illuminate a company's accomplishments and innovation, partnerships and mergers, or community activism.

Firsthand experience

It’s always beneficial to also examine the lived experiences of past and current employees and customers of the competition and your prospective employer as well. Explore your network connections for professionals who have had experience working for these companies. Reach out on professional networking websites like LinkedIn to current employees to ask about their firsthand accounts.

If accessing a network of industry professionals poses any barriers, or you’re pressed for time and would like to learn about firsthand accounts as soon as possible, check online customer reviews from Glassdoor or Google. These ratings will provide more personal insight into the companies you’re interested in working for, often discussing experiences such as customer service, work-life balance, or what is enjoyable or not enjoyable about working at these companies.

Check a company's website, blog, and social media

If you want to learn more about a company’s reputation or values, check areas under a company’s website or blog for Customer Stories, Who We Are, Sustainability and Governance or other sections indicating a positive impact.  Whether they offer opportunities for learning, mentorship, leadership, or community service is also telling of a company’s positive reputation.

Learn more about the industry

Researching a company before your interview will provide you with a wealth of knowledge about current trends and best practices within your target industry. Support your desire to earn more pay or demonstrate your knowledge about the kind of work your target role entails by researching not only the company but the industry too.

Sharpening your industry knowledge is useful in leveraging salary to earn the pay you deserve!

Industry knowledge comes from analyzing data and opinion pieces about a particular industry from newsletters, articles, and magazines. This information can also be found in podcasts or by reading quarterly report announcements. Ideally performing this research early on and performing it ongoing will strengthen your interview skills and maximize your career prospects.

Example: Researching the Finance competition

Interested in finance? Here's an example of competitor research in action.

Best financial companies to work for in the US

Magazine and ranking articles often take employee reviews and a company's public reputation for innovation or community advocacy to create insights into some of the best companies you could work for:

Rocket Companies – A large Fintech company offering personal finance technology for mortgage, auto, loan, energy, and other products.

  • Leadership that encourages professional development
  • Open and inclusive workplace culture
  • A strong push for innovation and encouraging all employees to think outside of the box

Capital One – A top 10 American bank with hundreds of branches and products in retail banking, credit cards, loans, and savings.

  • Leadership that encourages taking care of your mental health and pursuing wellness activities
  • A healthy work-life balance is commonplace
  • There are many flexible options to work from home or take time off

American Express – A global bank that offers products to a wide range of clients including consumers, small businesses, mid-sized companies and large corporations.

  • Plenty of professional development opportunities
  • A workplace culture of facilitating constant mentorship and professional goal setting

Salary information

Salaries in every industry depend on the level of experience and the specifications of every role, however, there is a general range that can be used to understand how much you can expect to make or where to set your professional goals.

  • Median annual wage for business and finance occupations was $76,570 in 2021. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • Jobs on the higher end of the range include hedge fund manager, investment banker, private equity associate, financial risk manager, and financial analyst.

Interested in finance, but maybe not as a finance intern? The following is a roundup of previous and current salaries received by college interns working in the financial industry in roles ranging from quant trading to software engineering. All salaries listed below are in USD.

  • Akuna Capital Internship - $65-84/hour
  • BNY Mellon Internship - $48/hour
  • Bridgewater Associates Internship - $81/hour
  • Capital One Internship - $69/hour
  • Certik Internship - $43-50/hour
  • Citadel Internship - $84-120/hour
  • Hatch Credit Internship - $50-64/hour
  • Jane Street Internship - $96-120/hour
  • JP Morgan Internship - $75/hour
  • Newfront Insurance Internship - $62-71/hour
  • Robinhood Internship - $48/hour

Finance industry trends

Research insights should come from a myriad of sources. The following insights were synthesized from a trend detection website, popular financial magazines, and an article from a financial services company:

  • Banks are likely to embrace and implement blockchain and cryptocurrency
  • Growing demand for enabling more personal finance management using online banking and finance apps (i.e. convenient access to investing, spending trackers, and payroll)
  • Consumers prefer Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) firms to entrust with making financial decisions since these firms are regulated by the SEC (e.g. Nucleus Advisors, Chevy Chase Trust)

This is not financial investment advice, all ideas presented here are personal opinions.

Not only can you find finance internships on Simplify, but you can use our Quant Finance Internships list to apply to the quant jobs that interest you most!

Look for a company's financial data

Finding a company’s financial information is a tool that can help predict the longevity of your position and future at a company. A position alone might seem great, but it’s important to analyze whether or not a company has a stable future full of growth. Besides critically examining industry trends and a company’s knack for innovation, its financial health is a clear and quantitative tool to measure a company’s potential.

Where to find detailed information

If the company you’re interested in is Canadian or American and traded publicly, they are required to file financial reports with SEDAR (System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval) and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) respectively. These financial reports generally include detailed information including annual and other interim financial reporting. Basic company information and history can also be found through simple search engine research and by taking a look at a company's History page.

You can then use these reports and facts to create your own judgements about the future of a company. Examining stock point gains, annual income, history of expansion and employee size, and rate of innovation are some factors to consider when creating your own insights.

Finding credible insights

If you’re looking for a more digestible and succinct source of financial information about a company, financial news websites such as Google Finance and Reuters will analyze financial metrics such as balance sheets and income statements for you, and provide you with an opinion about a company’s financial stability.

Generally, this information can also be found published on a company’s website under investor or pitch presentations and financial reports. Startups in particular will often specify the amount raised during funding rounds, providing you with an idea of not only their financial health but which investors support those particular businesses.

Research the hiring manager

Researching the hiring manager(s) who will conduct your interview will provide insight into their management style and what kind of workplace culture you will be experiencing once in your role. Besides a quick Google search, a hiring manager’s information can sometimes be found either on a company’s website, under employee bios, or on professional networking websites like Linkedin.

Both of these sources will provide information about their background, both educational and professional, and also highlight any recommendations or endorsements they have received from their colleague or past employers and employees. This type of information may provide you with unique questions to ask during your interview. These questions could include asking about their experience in multiple positions within the company or what they have enjoyed working on the most.

Reaching out to hiring managers can be a great way to start building your professional network. Check out Simplify's tips for how to network using Linkedin!

Land your dream job with Simplify today!

There are many aspects of a company and position to be researched prior to an interview, here are some tips to get you started!

Simplify has hundreds of jobs ready to research all in one place. All of Simplify’s job postings include the job description, position perks, company values, the hiring manager's bio, and information about job requirements.

Have you already done some research about one of Simplify’s many partnered companies? After you apply to one of our job postings, head to your Applications tab and feel free to consolidate your research in one place under each application’s Additional Notes feature. These notes are just for you and serve as a convenient look back for you to help determine where you want to work and who you want to work for.

Before researching a company for an interview, the first step is applying. After you've matched with Simplify's job opportunities, use the Additional Notes section to begin your research!