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Job Research Questions

Job candidates often fail to do their homework about the company they're trying to get to hire them. The more you know about your potential employer, and the industry in which it competes, the better your chances of creating a positive perception with your interviewer. Here are some questions you should feel comfortable discussing before you walk into your interview.

Industry Questions:

  • What are the industry trends?

  • Is it a growth industry or in decline?

  • What companies are the major players?

  • Is there a geographic focus to the industry? (i.e. steel: industrial cities of the Northeast and Midwest)

  • What are the products or services in the industry?

  • What is going on in the industry today?

  • How is what is going on in the industry affecting the companies in the industry?

  • What are the critical issues facing the industry? How are companies handling these issues? What are the costs of not addressing these issues?

Company Questions:

  • What is their product line?

  • What is their reputation in the industry?

  • How long have they been in business?

  • Have they been profitable in the past few years?

  • What is their market or industry position?

  • Who are their competitors?

  • What is their management philosophy, company culture, and/or mission?

  • Where is the company located?

  • How many employees are there?

  • What is the volume of annual sales?
  • How is the company organized?
  • What other companies is it related to? (subsidiaries, divisions, parent company)
  • Is it publicly or privately owned?
  • Have there been recent changes in management?
  • Has the company downsized or are they in a hiring mode? Why?
  • How is the company "trending" in terms of market position, technological change, or organization?
  • What is the career potential in the company?
  • What are the critical issues this company is facing? How have they been handled? What strengths and skills do you possess that might address those issues?
  • What are the names and positions of the key decision-makers?
  • Who is the CEO and executive staff? What are their reputations?

Questions for Either Potential Contacts or Referrals:

  • What position does he or she hold?

  • What is he or she responsible for in that position?

  • How long has he or she been with the firm?

  • How do you know this individual?

  • What is his or her professional and educational background?

  • What is his or her personal style? Fast paced or low key? A talker or a thinker? Businesslike or friendly?

  • Where does he or she live?

  • Should you have your referral source call him or her first? Should you send an approach letter first, or call?