Careers Service

Researching Employers

Researching Employers

Researching employers is a vital part of the job application process.

Researching employers is essential, whether it’s to help you decide who to apply to, tailor your application or impress an interviewer with your knowledge of the company.

Find out as much as you can about an employer before you apply, such as: 

  • their main area of business or objectives
  • who their customers and competitors are
  • current issues affecting their business, eg market trends, government legislation, company mergers 

Be clear about what the job you are applying for involves, and the skills and experience the employer is looking for.

We’ve added some tips below to help you get started. If you’re not sure how to find employers, see Finding companies to research

1. Visit the employer’s website 

Find out about their core projects and services, their clients and the sectors they work in.

Read up on their latest news and gain insight from any 'About Us' section. It’s a good idea to make a list of any key dates/achievements, for example, any industry awards.

Graduate employers often have a dedicated careers section which can include case studies and graduate profiles talking about their career and what they enjoy about their role.

Find out the values/principles of the company – these can give you an insight into the type of candidate they look for. Try, where possible, to show how your values mirror theirs.

2. Get insights from company profile sites 

It’s important to look beyond the company’s website. You can find insights on employers, including their recruitment processes, on the following sites: 

  • TARGETjobs: Employer hubs - profiles on top graduate employers, some of these include application and interview tips
  • Graduates First: Employers -  guides to over 100 graduate employers, with hints on how to pass their assessment processes
  • GradQuiz - insight into several top FTSE 350 employers
  • WikiJob - industry insights and information on graduate employers
  • Prospects - see Graduate Employers and Job sectors
  • Gradcracker - aimed at science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) students and graduates. Includes employer hubs with company profiles
  • Inside Careers - includes employer profiles for accountancy, insurance and IP firms
  • NextStepSupport: Employer updates - responses from some graduate employers about their recruitment during Covid19
  • Companies House - find company information, including accounts
  • Vault - US-based site, includes employer profiles and rankings, and insider intelligence on salaries, hiring practices and company cultures

3. Follow them on social media 

Follow the company on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, to keep up to date with their news, events and any projects they’re currently working on. These can often tell you a lot about the company’s culture and what it’s like to work for them.

See our online tutorial for advice on using LinkedIn for research: Make the most of LinkedIn: 2. Researching companies.

4. Get insider knowledge 

It can help to get advice from people working within the company or sector. Use NCL spark and LinkedIn’s Alumni tool to help you find Newcastle graduates working in the career areas that interest you. You can read their profiles and get in touch with them to ask about their role and working for that employer.

Have a look at employee reviews platforms, such as Glassdoor, RateMyPlacement and the JobCrowd, where you can learn what it might be like to work for the company and find out what type of questions you could be asked at the interview.

Be proactive: attend events and make the most of any opportunity to meet employers and ask questions to help strengthen your applications and interviews.

5. Keep up to date with the latest news 

Employers often look for commercial awareness in candidates, so make sure you keep up to date with news, current affairs, trends and important topics in your field. What are the challenges facing the industry and what impact might they have, on them and their clients?

Have a look at any news sections on the employer's website. You can also search for companies on Google News and set up search alerts for updates. LinkedIn, professional bodies and the news sites below are also good sources of events, press releases or news articles that may be worth mentioning during your interview. Our Explore Occupations pages have links to industry news and professional bodies for a wide range of sectors.

Online news sites

Finding companies to research 

You can use the following business directories and listings to find employers. Explore Occupations has more links for specific sectors.

More help