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Researching Prospective Employers

When preparing for an interview, it is imperative that you know about the employer. Most of this information can be gathered through sources available at the IU Southeast library, the Career Services office in University Center 008, and on the Internet at the JobWeb site. Additional Internet resources can be found here. Always ask the Reference Librarians for assistance. They are a wealth of information and have handouts that list sources of information. Also check the corporate recruiting literature in the Career Services office.

Before interviewing, you should gather the following information:

  1. Complete name of the organization.
    • Address of the office conducting the job search
    • Telephone number with area code
    • Location of the main office or corporate headquarters
  2. Name and title of the person who will be conducting the interview.
  3. The size of the organization. Some employers are evaluated on the number of locations, number of employees, sales volume, assets, etc. Select one or more measures to indicate if this is a small, medium or large organization relative to others in its field.
  4. Product line(s) or services offered. In short, what does this employer do? Especially note the areas of activity of the location conducting the interview.
  5. Employment opportunities, positions available. For what are they interviewing?
  6. Who are the competitors? Be able to name them.
  7. Research recent (last 24 months) news articles about this employer. If this is a local employer, don't forget to check with the Courier-Journal and Business First. Also, use the CD ROM databases in the library for some of the best summaries of articles.

There are many ways to research an employer and all available sources should be used whenever possible. Sources of information can be broken down into various categories: people sources, paper sources and computerized sources.

People Sources

We sometimes forget that our own personal networks can be very effective sources of information. When researching an employer, be certain to contact friends and relatives to seek their advise. This group of people would include immediate and extended family members, faculty and classmates. This last group is often forgotten and yet more than 90% of IU Southeast students work while attending college. In addition, contact the Better Business Bureau and the local and state Chambers of Commerce for additional information on local employers.

Paper Sources

Directories, books, newspapers, registers and manuals can be found in libraries in most communities. These are excellent sources of information on a large number of employers.

National and international firm information can be found in the following resources in your library

Dun & Bradstreet Million Dollar Directory. (Ref HC102 .D81) five volumes, Standard & Poor's Register of Corporations, Directors and Executives. (Ref. HG4057 .A3) three volumes, Thomas Register of American Manufacturers and Thomas Register Catalog File. (Ref T12 .T6) seventeen volumes, Corporate Technology Directory. (Ref. HG4057 .A16 1987), Ward's Business Directory. (Ref HG4009 .W36), Trade Names Dictionary. (Ref T223 .V4 A22), Trade Names Dictionary: Company Index (Ref 223 .V4 A222), and America's Corporate Families. (Ref HG4057 .A147).

Local information can be found in the following sources

Harris Indiana Marketer's Industrial Directory. (T12.I63), Indiana Manufacturer's Directory. (Ref HD9727 .I6 I53), Business First Top 25. (Ref HF5068 .L6 B88), Kentucky Directory of Manufacturers. (Ref T12 .K56), Louisville Area Directory of Manufacturers. (Ref T12 L68), Microcosm, and The Courier Journal.

Specific company information can be found in the following sources

Moody's Manuals: Moody's Complete Corporate Index (Ref HG4961 .M735), Moody's Industrial Manual. (Ref HG4961 .M67), Moody's OTC Industrial Manual. (Ref HG4961 .M7237), Moody's Transportation Manual. (Ref 4971 M74), Moody's Public Utility Manual. (Ref HG4961 .M7245), Moody's Municipal and Government Manual. (Ref HG4931.M58), Moody's Bank and Finance Manual. (Ref HG4961 .M65), Moody's International Manual. (Ref HG4571 .M6), Moody's Bond Survey. (Ref HG4905 .M785), and Moody's Handbook. (Ref HG4905 .M815). Also, Value Line Ratings and Reports. (Index Area).

Industry information can be found in the following sources

Almanac of Business and Industrial Ratios. (Ref HF5681.R25 T68), Industry Norms and Key Business Ratios. (Ref HF5681.R25 I525), Standard and Poor's Industry Surveys. (Ref HG4501 .S27), Business Periodical Index. (Ref. area), Chicago Tribune Index. (Index area), The New York Times Index. (Index area), Wall Street Journal Index. (Index area), and Barron's.

Computerized Sources

The computer has become a valuable source of information on many topics. CD ROM data bases are available in most libraries and contain a wealth of information on many employers. Listed below are a few of the data bases available at IU Southeast. The number of available sources changes over time. It is wise to check with reference librarians to learn of the newest sources. These sources include: ABI/Inform (Ref. area), Infotrac General Business File (Ref. area), and Newsbank (Ref. area).

Information used by permission from Indiana University-Southeast.

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