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How to Research a Company Before Applying For a Job
3 Min

How to Research a Company Before Applying For a Job

Mar 10, 2022
3 Min

One of the first steps in your job hunting process as an international student is shortlisting the companies you apply to. Consider this scenario: you come across a graduate scheme or traineeship or a posting that seems like the perfect fit for you during the job hunt. You look at the desired skills and required qualifications. You know you check all (or most) of the boxes, so you are tempted to fill the form and hit ‘apply directly’. Enthusiasm is good, but the job search will also require you to be patient and strategic.

Before you spend time filling an application for a particular job, there are specific steps you should take and certain company parameters you should consider before going ahead in the process. Why? For one, it will help you filter the companies and the jobs that actually suit you, that sponsor a work permit and that you are qualified for. Secondly, researching before applying can make a huge difference to your responses. Instead of writing generic answers in the form, you can customize your responses and align them with the organization’s larger purpose.

Bawani Chan, a law student from Malaysia, has attended several assessment centers. Her advice?

You have to know the main aims, goals, and the business of the company you have applied to. That’s non-negotiable.

Therefore, researching a company before applying is important; here are a few things you should cover in your pre-application research:

First, hit the company’s website

It is a great starting point. Usually, all the information one needs about the company will be available on the website.

If you are pressed for time, it is fine just to skim throughout; first, an idea of the organizational identity of the company as it can go a long way in helping you design your application better. Basically, you should be able to answer two questions:

  • Are you the right fit for the company?
  • How are you going to demonstrate that in your application?

If you have sufficient time, examine two pages closely:

About Us

This page will provide an overview of the company’s business area, the team structure, a little history and background, and its achievements or projects.

Company Values

This is a little less obvious, but if you want your application to embody the company’s values, you need first to acquaint yourself with those values. Then, when you show recruiters that your values align with the company values, you give a compelling yet implicit hint about your suitability for the role.

It is the knowledge of such minor details that led Christy Simanjuntak to her current position as Global Credit Analyst at HSBC UK.

I think it is helpful to look at the company values as well. For example, Barclays emphasizes on Service, Stewardship, Integrity, Respect, and Excellence’, Christy advises prospective applicants.

Dhruvin Patel, Founder at Ocushield, shares more insight from the employer’s perspective, “Most candidates only look at the website, I think it’s worth digging deeper – check what the latest news about the company is, check their company pages on LinkedIn, etc. A candidate saying, “I love what you do here with xyz”, would stick out for me. Bonus points if the candidate brings something to the table, too: if they have a suggestion to make, or suggestion as to how they’d perform a certain activity in the company – that shows me that they’re proactive, they’re rolling out ideas & have got their thinking cap on.”

Look up the company’s profile as a recruiter

What are the people working at the company saying about the company? Use websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc., to find out how the organization treats its employees. These websites have reviews from the current and past employees, experiences of interviews at the company, and other valuable insights that can come in handy for you throughout the hiring process. It will also help you evaluate the company’s suitability for you.

A pro-tip is also to check out your company on social media. The brand identity that the organization puts up for the public eye can deliver keen insights for your preparation.

Dig deeper into the role through the power of the network

Very often, applicants read the job description but are at a loss to imagine what the job exactly entails. To beat this information lacuna, we have one word for you: networking. For such vital but amorphous questions, you can meet recruiters at the careers fairs or talks at your University. Alternatively, you can also reach out to someone who is either currently working in the same position or worked in the past, on LinkedIn, or on your University alumni network.

The underlying principle of all your research should be two-fold: show the company that you are ready to go the extra mile and assess your suitability for the position!
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Student Circus is an award-winning employability platform that helps boost international student careers globally. With filtered visa-enabled opportunities for graduates, the platform presents the first-of-its-kind solution for international students from 40+ partner universities in the UK, many of whom have landed jobs at KPMG, Deloitte, Blackrock, Rolls Royce, PwC, EY, among others.