The Job Series - Researching A Company

· 548 words · 3 minute read

What if you want to learn more about the companies you’re talking to? Where do you go?

This is a blog post in a series of articles about getting a job in tech. Confused? Here’s the first post

You should be prepared to talk about the company and what the company does - yes, interviewers can tell when you don’t know what you’re talking about and it reflects very poorly.

I make sure to research companies before speaking - if I was looking at jobs in VC for example, I would look at notable companies the firm invested in (companies that I knew about), how many companies they’ve invested in (using Crunchbase), their estimated size of fund, and how many funds deep are they. If I was interviewing at a company, I made sure to look for some notable customers if applicable, information about the product, or - against the will of my high school teachers - I’d read the wikipedia page to get a quick and dirty overview.

Here are some tools I use and how I use them:

Crunchbase 🔗

Crunchbase is a great way to get an overview about a company - from estimates of size, company acquisitions, valuations, and more. While it’s a great tool to understand the business aspect of a company, it won’t tell you too much about the product. But, a bonus is that it aggregates news articles about a company, cutting down some research time.

Angellist & LinkedIn 🔗

While Angellist and LinkedIn are clearly two separate companies and products, they both can be used in the same way. Both show overviews of the company, people who work at the company, open roles, information about the culture and more. On a site like LinkedIn, you can also learn more about your future interviewers and their interests / backgrounds. In addition, you can use LinkedIn to learn if someone you may know, or if a second degree connection works at a company. (Yeah, go ahead and do a lil’ look up before hand of people, it doesn’t hurt)

News Articles 🔗

Recent press about the company is a critical piece of knowledge for interviews. If a company just raised a new round of funding, that gives you the knowledge that they’re working on something big. If they just released a new product, you can ask questions about it during your interview.

Wikipedia 🔗

As I mentioned above If a company has a wikipedia page, I’ll also go check it out. You might learn something new!

Twitter 🔗

A company is more than just… the company. It’s important to know and see what people are saying about the company, how excited users are for the product.

Bringing it together 🔗

New articles and Twitter are critical in understanding the culture of a company. In the bad cases, you’ll hear about the company and something they should not have done. In the worse cases, you’ll learn about the poor management and how the public really feels about a company. You can use this go catch a glean about the environment and use this to ask yourself the question “Is this a place where I would be safe and feel good enough to succeed? Am I aligned with these decisions?”

Gathering knowledge for the interviews is a powerful way to get a leg up on what you might be getting into and quickly prepare for the interviews.