Researching Employers

Why Research Information on Employers?

There are two basic reasons to research employers:

  1. To aid you in your job search
  2. To help prepare you for your interview

Researching an employer during your job search can help you determine more about that organization and your potential place in it. Some important information to look for includes what activities are carried out by the employer, how financially stable the employer is, and what types of jobs exist with the employer. Using available resources, you can gain a better understanding of what career potential exists with a particular employer. One approach to finding a job is to use a hierarchical strategy:

  • Find industries that meet your needs.
  • Locate employers within your targeted industries.
  • Research information on executives.

Preparing for an interview is essential for success! Before meeting your potential employer it is essential to know what they do; how they do it; their financial state (if they are expanding or downsizing); expectations of potential employees in terms of skill, education, and previous experience; and what you can offer them.

Where Do You Find Information on Employers?

The following types of resources (may include both Internet and print) should prove useful in your research.

Annual Reports

These reports and other materials are available from an organization’s public relations/information office. Most large organizations produce a report, which presents an outline of the organization’s successes, growth, history, goals, and financial status. Note: companies prepare two public reports: one for stockholders (Annual Report) and one for the Securities and Exchange Commission (10K Report). A 10-K report has less narrative but contains more comprehensive financial reporting.


These are geographic, business, occupational, professional, industry, and financial status directories available in your library. These directories may provide information about an organization’s products or services, number of employees, principal executives, and location(s).

Trade Associations

These organizations produce membership directories, journals (which provide information about trends and issues in the field), and information briefs. They also hold annual conferences for your networking, information gathering, and professional development purposes. Remember, almost every type of field or industry that exists has a trade association affiliation (e.g., American Society of Interpreters, Museum Store Association, National Mental Health Association).


The business section of most papers contain numerous articles about local companies and their executives. Articles about non-profit organizations often appear in a newspaper’s local interest section.

Fellow Professionals

Other professionals in the field can provide “word-of-mouth” information about organizations of interest.


Often an organization’s competitors offer excellent insight about the inner working of that organization.

Public Documents

Government and quasi-government organizations have records that must be made available to the public.

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