5 Ways to See Through a Company's True Nature When Job Hunting

Graduates returning to their home country after studying abroad often have limited knowledge of domestic companies and industries. They frequently worry about whether a company is good or not, whether it's legitimate, the work environment, salary, and benefits. This is especially true for overseas returnees who may be less familiar with the domestic job market compared to their local peers.

Many students have shared their experiences of landing a job offer after much effort, only to realize after joining the company that it doesn't match the impressive image portrayed during the interview process. In this blog post, we will discuss five methods to gain insights into a company when job hunting, all rooted in effective company research.

Importance of Company Research

Women doing research of the company

  • To prepare for interview questions.

  • To understand the company's background and culture and whether they align with your values.

  • To learn about the company's current status and the current state of the industry it operates in.

  • To understand the position you're interested in within the company's structure and your potential for career advancement.

  • To determine whether the company's compensation and benefits fall within an acceptable range for you.

In general, there are several methods to achieve this: checking the company's official website, searching for related news, using third-party platforms, researching industry information, and communicating with internal personnel. 

Effective Company Research Methods

Women doing a company research on her laptop

Method 1: Check the Company's Official Website

This is the simplest method for company research. But do you really understand the information on the official website? In reality, the official website usually uses a combination of images and text to answer the questions: "Who are we?", "Where are we located?", "What are we doing?", and subtly conveys "We are excellent" and "We have potential." The implied message is, "Do our values align with yours? Do you want to join us?"

When examining a company's official website, you can also check the "News and Media Resources" section. Here, you'll find significant news related to the company, which helps you stay updated on the company's recent developments. Additionally, it's recommended to follow the company's official social media accounts, such as LinkedIn accounts, as it is the most common channels for companies to share news and updates which will be useful in your company research. 

Method 2: Search for Relevant News

Many company websites are regularly updated, which means the information on their official sites may not always be the most current. To gain a more multidimensional understanding of a company, you should do your company research by looking for up-to-date news. Furthermore, news on a company's official website may lack objectivity and might not address any negative information that may be circulating online.

When reading news articles, consider the following aspects: What is the perspective of the media's coverage? Do the reports align with the company's stated values on their official website? Is the company recently expanding into new business areas? What are industry experts saying about these developments?

Method 3: Research for Industry Information

In addition to learning about a company's specific details, it's essential to research the industry in which the company operates. The industry's development significantly affects the pace and limits of the company's growth. An industry downturn can have a substantial impact on the company, which, in turn, affects your personal development within the company.

For example, the finance industry experienced a wave of defaults in 2018, leading to many companies in the industry closing down. Even the surviving internet finance companies had to conduct layoffs to cope with the challenges. Therefore, understanding industry dynamics before choosing a company is valuable for your insights into the company and your future career prospects.

When researching industry information, many websites, both free and paid, provide various industry reports. For instance, Tencent's Penguin Intelligence and Tencent Research Institute frequently publish information about different industries. While exploring industry data, you can also learn about the company's competitors within the same industry. You can consider questions like: Who are the competitors of the company you are interested in? Do these competitors have any recent developments? How might these competitors affect your desired company? Having done these company research can be proven valuable during interviews.

Method 4: Communicate with Insiders

Do you have any friends or contacts working at the company you're interested in? Do you have friends working in the same industry or who can connect you with the company or industry? If you do, don't hesitate to ask for information. The insights they can provide are often more direct and accurate than what you find in the media. If you don't have any personal connections, don't be discouraged; many platforms offer experiences shared by industry veterans, like the seasoned professionals you can find on LinkedIn. 

Method 5: Read Company Financial Reports

Women seeing the financial report of a company

Reading financial reports is a part of comprehensive company research and offers insights into a company's financial health. However, this method requires a certain level of expertise. If you have financial knowledge, consider paying attention to the company's quarterly and annual financial reports. Reading financial reports not only allows you to understand the company's strategic direction, operational status, and financial issues but also provides insights into the company's core products and organizational structure.

In a Nutshell

In the competitive world of job hunting, making well-informed decisions is vital. As graduates returning from studying abroad navigate their home country's job market, they need to see through a company's facade and uncover its true nature. 

By utilizing various research methods, such as analyzing official websites, staying updated with the latest news, exploring third-party platforms, studying industry dynamics, and seeking insights from insiders, job seekers can better understand the companies they're interested in. Armed with this knowledge, they can confidently choose the right path for their careers.