How to research a company before a job interview

By Robert Half on 26 September 2022

In such a tight labour market, searching for job opportunities that’ll suit you best can be an overwhelming task.

Each company seems to bleed into the next as they pitch similar roles and identical benefits.

If you’re finding it difficult to separate the good from the great, read on for our simple steps to researching a company in Singapore before an interview.

Why should you research companies before applying for a role?

Most of us spend around two thousand hours at work each year. So it makes sense to begin your research knowing what you want from your next role.

Just as we have our own career goals and professional identity, every organisation has its own corporate culture. And research will help you assess your compatibility with a potential company.

Remember, the company you join will impact how and when you achieve your career goals – whether it’s career progression, international mobility, flexibility and work-life balance, or challenging work.

Related: How to prepare for a phone interview

How to use research to find companies that support your needs

An employer brand encapsulates all the touch points of the worker experience and can act as a great guide as to whether the business and yourself are a ‘culture fit’.

A culture fit is important because working alongside like-minded people in a company with shared attitudes, values, and goals can lead to higher job satisfaction, better performance and a longer retention rate.

Maybe you’re returning to work after having a baby?

Then employee testimonials from others in the same situation might give you an idea of how well a company supports new parents.

Or perhaps you’d like to work for a fast-growing startup?

Then watch the news and social media for notifications and check out platforms detailing startups, such as Crunchbase, AngelList, and StartupLister.

Related: Discover how to find a company with the right cultural fit.

What details should you research before your interview?

There’s no end to what you could research about a company. But here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What employee benefits do they provide?
  • What’s their leadership structure?
  • Who buys their products or services, and are they well-rated?
  • What type of industry is it, and who are their competitors?
  • How long have they been around, and is it still growing?

Then investigate the key elements that can make the difference between a good job and a great personal career move.

Related: How to prepare for a video interview

Research what the company culture is like

While you’ll learn a little about the company’s culture through its website or social media, it’s only one side of the story. External sources will give you a more accurate picture.

Search for what current employees in Singapore say about their workplace. Or use Glassdoor to read the company reviews.

PRO TIP: Look for key details. What makes it a great place to work? Do they value staff feedback? Do they encourage open communication?

Research what your role would entail

Are the listed duties and responsibilities a good match for your skill set? Will there be opportunities for career progression? Are you looking for a full-time position or a role that offers flexible working hours and locations?

Also, check if the company requires a focus on a particular industry or area of expertise. For example, an accounting firm that works only with construction clients.

PRO TIP: Some job descriptions only provide scant details. Look for testimonials from employees in the same role for a more candid version.

Research how the role might tie in with your career goals

Perhaps you’re looking for an entry-level position with a mentorship program because you’re a new grad?

Or maybe you’re looking for a role with flexible working arrangements so you can study for an MBA and enter leadership training opportunities?

Reach out to past or present employees for their experiences with mobility or trainee programs to help you understand how a company has historically supported employees with goals similar to yours.

Related: Need some help with your career planning? Read our tips on setting and achieving your career goals.

Which channels are best for researching a company before an interview?

1. Company website

The best place to start is a company’s website. Pay close attention to:

‘About’ page or employee bios to get a feel for the people they hire and their company culture.

Careers page or section to find out about the role you’re interested in and other jobs they’re hiring for. It’ll also detail company culture, employee benefits, and the programs or systems in place to support employee wellbeing in training, flexibility, mobility, or career paths.

Mission statement to understand their values and what they’re positioning the business for (e.g. rapid growth).

Investors section to learn about their financial health and how they measure up against their competitors.

Related: How to prepare for a panel interview

2. Employee testimonials

Next, read reviews from past and current company employees to find out about:

  • Remuneration and benefits
  • Employee functions and responsibilities
  • Leadership styles and company culture
  • Employee experience

Glassdoor is a great place to find employee testimonials. You can also easily search for employee reviews on LinkedIn.

Related: Five interview techniques and skills

3. Social media

Then it’s time to check out the company’s social pages.

You can also search for information about the company posted by their employees, customers or clients, and other businesses.

Useful platforms include:

  • LinkedIn for their company profile, employees, examples of team activities or company culture, and to request connections
  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok for company updates, events, and jobs
  • Glassdoor for employee reviews, salary figures, and their hiring process

PRO TIP: Note how responsive the company is to comments on their social accounts. How do they handle negative feedback? Do they celebrate their employees?

4. Press and media

While you can start with the company’s webpage dedicated to press releases and events, it’s also good to research external sources.

Search online or printed media for recent industry events and major changes affecting the company.

Look for potential red flags, such as a recent merger, a new CEO, or widespread layoffs. Similarly, look for opportunities, such as a new branch opening or an upcoming expansion into the global market.

Related: Questions to ask in an interview in Singapore

5. Word of mouth

Finally, tap into your connections.

If you know someone who works at the company you’re researching, talk with them and try to build on what you already know.

Or, if you’re a recent grad, ask your career office for a list of alumni working at your preferred company. Then reach out to them via email or LinkedIn for assistance.

You could also ask your network about their own company’s culture and if there are any open opportunities.

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