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ATD Blog

Ask the Career Coach: How to Research Employers for Your Next Interview

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Question: Help! I’ve got an interview coming up and I want to learn more about the organization so I can ace the interview. Where do I start?

Answer: Congratulations on your interview and on deciding to research the employer ahead of time! This will give you an edge during your interview and enable you to tailor your answers to align with the role you’re targeting and the organization’s mission.

You can find information about the company where you are interviewing in a variety of ways.

The easiest is using an online search engine like Google, which gives you a broad sense of what’s happening with the company overall. You can also search other sites like Glassdoor and Vault to get an inside scoop from people who’ve worked there.

Next, use LinkedIn to see who in your network may already work for the organization or be connected to others who work for it. You can send a personal message or, depending on your relationship, call them to learn more about the company where you’re interviewing.

Here’s what to look for when researching a company:

1. Growth: Where was it five years ago? Where is it now? Where does it plan to be in the future? This can encompass employees, locations, expansion plans, revenue, and technology.

2. Direction: What are the organization’s product or service lines? What has it done in the past? Where is it headed in the future? Is it up to date on industry trends or behind the times?


3. Leadership: What do you know about the CEO? The senior management? You want a leadership team that aligns with your values. Media coverage about the leaders and any content they’ve posted online can indicate their values, and the company’s.

4. Problems: What problems, based on your research, has the company had to overcome? What may occur in the future? This information can help you position yourself as the company’s new problem solver and strategize your interview responses to share how your experience in X could help you solve a particular problem.

5. Community: What are they giving back to the communities they serve? Do they walk the talk?

Coaching Challenge: Take Action!

Take your job search to the next level—not just for this upcoming interview, but beyond. Research up to 25 companies. Find out who the decision maker is for your role. Send your resume directly to that person, rather than sending it through human resources. For example, if you are a chief learning officer, you’d target the company president or CEO. If you are a training manager, you’d target the CLO.


Department heads, VPs, and CEOs have the power to create jobs. Sending your resume to them directly could help you land an interview.

Better yet, network your way to meet or speak with one of these key players through a warm referral from someone in your network. These connections can give you an even better chance of landing a job.

Download my free Get Hired Faster job search guide and action plan for more job search advice.

Have you got a question about your career? Let us know at [email protected], and your question may be answered in our new column, “Ask the Career Coach.”

About the Author

Wendy Terwelp, founder of Opportunity Knocks of Wisconsin LLC and author of the Rock Your Network® series, was dubbed a “LinkedIn Guru,” by the Washington Post. Terwelp consults, speaks, and writes about social media, networking, branding, and career development for conferences, associations, and companies worldwide.

Her private executive coaching clients win raises, promotions, and jobs. Want to advance your career? Schedule a strategy session to discuss your career, goals, and next steps.

An award-winning career expert, Terwelp's advice and expertise are regularly quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, Fast Company, Inc., The Chicago Tribune, The Business Journal,, Manage Smarter, Physicians Practice, CTDO (Chief Talent Development Officer) magazine, TD magazine, NBC, ABC, FOX, radio, and more. She served on the Association for Talent Development Program Advisory Committee and authored the ATD Infoline “Jumpstart Your Job Search and Get Hired Faster,” included in ATD's "Best on Career Development" anthology.

In addition to ATD's recognition, Wendy was named one of the Top 15 Career Masterminds (along with Richard Nelson Bolles author of "What Color is Your Parachute?"), JobMob's "Top Job Search Blog Posts" annually, Top 100 Twitter Accounts Job Seekers Must Follow, and Inc. Magazine's "Top 10 Career Helps."

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