How to Research a Company

August 29, 2022

Why research the company? 

The number one mistake that candidates make when applying for a job is not doing enough research into the company they want to work for. Time and time again we apply for a job without taking the time to get to know the company first. This crucial step is so often missed out, which not only reduces your likelihood of getting the job but also whether you enjoy the role if successful!


Researching the company is important because:

  1. It allows you to decide whether the company and the role are a good fit for you (and vice versa). You need to know the company before you can truly know whether you want the job!
  2. It will make you stand out during the interview process because you will be able to ask relevant questions and make insightful suggestions.
  3. It makes you a better marketer. Every company you research will be a step in your marketing journey, where you will learn about individual companies and the wider industry while improving your research skills.

It is useful to think of this research as an external audit: you are looking at the company as an outsider, leveraging the available sources of information to get a snapshot of the company’s strategy, performance and marketing practices. 

At this point you may be thinking, how can I conduct a research before I even join the company and don’t have access to any of their internal resources? Where do I start?

Not to worry! This article provides a comprehensive checklist of areas you should research, as well as resources you can access and questions you should ask yourself throughout. 


How to research a company – The Ultimate Research Checklist

We’ve seen why we need to research the company we want to work for, now let’s get into what to research and how

Below is a list of the key areas you should be researching and where to find the relevant information. Follow these steps and you’ll be sure to wow your interviewers with your depth of knowledge and proven enthusiasm for the company!


1. The Company

  • The first step is to research the company itself to paint a general picture of who they are and what they stand for. 
  • There are also certain ‘basics’ that the company will expect you to know (location, size, history, etc.).
  • Look at their website, focusing on the About, Team, Blog and News pages.
  • Google the company and read any related news stories – this will ensure that your research is up-to-date.
  • Check out Crunchbase to learn about funding if the company is a start-up.
  • Go to the company’s LinkedIn page and look at their ‘About’ section and any posts.
  • This information will help you with the almost inevitable interview questions “What do you know about the company” or “Why are you interested in working with us?”


2. The Team and Company Culture

  • It is important to get to know the people you will potentially be working for.
  • Look at the company’s LinkedIn: How many people work for them? Who? How many people are based in the UK? How diverse is the team?
  • Find the people working in the department you want to be in on LinkedIn . What schools/universities are they from? Which companies have they worked for previously? What is their current role in the company?
  • Read about the company culture and interview process on Glassdoor to ensure you are prepared for the next stages of your application.
CMO Tip: Connect on LinkedIn with the person interviewing you. This shows them that you are taking initiative and doing your research!


3. The Product

  • One of the most important aspects of the company you should be familiar with is what they are trying to selling, so research the website with a focus on product offering.
  • Analyse their product launches and campaigns by looking at their past social media posts and PR announcements.
  • If possible, try the product! Whether this means buying the product or subscribing to software, this is the best way to learn about the product. Document your buyer journey with screenshots.
  • Read product reviews on platforms such as Trustpilot, feefo, Capterra, G2, etc.
  • Try to reach Customer Support via email and live chat or Community Management via social media. Ask detailed questions about the product. Observe how fast they reply.
  • This research will not only familiarise you with the product and allow you to form opinions about it, but also means that in the interview you can talk about the product in depth and provide intelligent suggestions as to how you would market it.
CMO Tip: Review platforms such as Trustpilot, feefo and Capterra are all amazing sources of consumer insights as well as brand image.

4. The Brand

  • Explore the company website and social media (both paid and organic). Pay attention to brand, design, messaging themes, content and tone of voice.
  • Google the brand name + “brand guidelines” – some big companies have their brand guidelines available online or their agencies showcase their brand guideline work.
  • This will enable you to envision how your work could fit into this brand, meaning that you can showcase your knowledge of the company’s brand image in the interview and tailor your marketing suggestions to it.


5. Pricing

  • Pricing analysis, how easy is it to understand the company’s pricing structure? Why do you think the company designed its pricing this way?
  • Conduct a competitor review to compare their prices with the competition.
  • Promotional activities – how does the company run discounts and other promotions? Are there any promotional activities the company hasn’t considered that you think they should try? Do you have any suggestions on how you would expand on existing promotional campaigns?
  • This will show your interviewer that you are already aware of the company’s current marketing and pricing strategies.
CMO Tip: Analyse the balance between brand-building activities and promotional activities. Is the company heavily trading? Do they invest in long-term brand building?


6. Digital Presence

  • So much of marketing is digital in the 21st century, so how a company presents itself online is really important.
  • Use the SimilarWeb plugin for traffic rankings and website analysis. This is a magic tool that allows you to analyse the geographic breakdown as well as a traffic estimation per channel.
  • Analyse all of the company's social media accounts, looking at their followers, campaigns, posts, comments and the engagement on posts. Be sure to follow them on social media.
  • Google Ads – search relevant keywords and their brand on incognito mode to see if they are paying for any Google Ads.
  • The Facebook Ad Library tool makes paid social media analysis far easier because it allows you to see the ads of any company and analyse them per region or platform. Be sure to look at your future company and/or its competitors to gain valuable insight.
  • Analyse their email marketing by signing up for newsletters. Start using the product to see the welcome series.
  • All of this is valuable information you can bring up in your interview to showcase your depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for the company.


7. Competitors

  • As an external person, you won't have access to lots of information, but you can still learn a lot.
  • Identify 3-5 competitors and provide a light-touch analysis of all the above areas.
  • If you’re struggling to find the company’s main competitors, go to the company’s LinkedIn page and scroll down to the ‘Other Companies People Viewed’ section. Here you should find a few competitors, and you can repeat the process to build up a list!
  • Being able to articulate what makes the company special compared to its competitors will help convince your interviewer that you really know the company.

Stand out during the interview and become a better marketer

Completing all these research areas will ensure that you can talk about the company knowledgeably and enthusiastically in your interview. This will make you stand out from other candidates and impress the interviewers with how invested in the company you are already! 

Most importantly, researching the company will give you the best idea of whether you can see yourself working there. We spend so many hours working and it can be either the most fulfilling experience or an utterly miserable one. Research will help you connect with the company and identify whether you like the culture, their values and way of doing marketing. Proper research will minimise the painful mistake of getting into the wrong job and not enjoying it.

With this checklist, you are now ready to find the perfect opportunity for you, where your skills and passion will be treasured and appreciated.

Good luck!