Employer research is critical to success in the job search process. Just as self-assessment helps you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, accomplishments and achievements, and needs and restrictions, employer research reveals whether a potential employer’s philosophy and values, work culture, demands, rewards, and other characteristics match your career goals and personality. Moreover, as your career progresses and you change employers, this in-depth research helps ensure that you move into environments where you will have the best chance of success.
Your research should, at a minimum, help you to discover information on the employer’s size and locations (both domestic and international), its new initiatives and reputation, as well as its longevity, services and products, and competitors. Additionally, your research will help you to target cover letters and resumes and to develop probing questions to ask during your interviews. Finally, the knowledge you display in your interviews as a result of your research will demonstrate your interest and enthusiasm, and help you to appropriately tailor your responses to address the potential employer’s needs and concerns.
Some important resources for conducting your research include:
The Careers Resources Courseworks page, which houses hundreds of links and resources, including tip sheets and industry guides, recorded videos and more
The Office of Careers & Practice reference library (722 West 168th Street, Suite 1003)
Information sessions on the Medical Center and Morningside Campuses
Fall and Spring Career Days at the Mailman School of Public Health and certain Morningside Campus Career Fairs
Presentations by various employers on campus, as well as alumni panel discussions
Newspapers and blogs
Public and specialized libraries
Chambers of commerce
Employer directories like Guidestar (for nonprofits) and Hoovers Company Records (large corporations)
We are pleased to offer you a free training system that features a new and innovative way to help you prepare more effectively for a job interview. Big Interview is an online system that combines training AND video-based practice to help improve your interview technique and build your confidence. You have at your disposal a variety of tools including:
Challenging, virtual mock interviews for all experience levels and dozens of industries
A database of thousands of interview questions with tips on how to answer them
The ability to rate and share your interview answers for feedback
A comprehensive video training curriculum covering all aspects of landing a job
A step-by-step interview Answer Builder for crafting answers to behavioral questions
How to Register - Current Students
STEP 1: Go to https://mailman.biginterview.com and click "Register Now".
STEP 2: Complete registration process—enter your @cumc.columbia.edu in the “Organization Confirmation Email” and enter the rest of the information, then click “Create My Account”
STEP 3: You'll then receive a confirmation email at your SCHOOL email address. Click "Verify" in the email, and you'll be able to start using Big Interview.
How to Register - Alumni
Alumni can create their Big Interview account here with Organization Code: cumc4708.
Are You Prepared?
When you have completed both your pre- and post-interview research, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Do I support the employer’s mission?
Is the work environment structured or unstructured? Is the organization large and formal or smaller and with cross-functional work encouraged?
Is the environment fast-paced or is it calm and slow?
How much autonomy will I have in this position?
What type of administrative support will I have in this position?
Is the culture a good match for my management style?
Are salary increases tied to performance objectives?
What are the work hours? Are hours flexible? Will I be required to travel?
What provisions are made for initial training as well as ongoing career development?
Will the position provide me with the skills and training I need to advance in my career?
How is my prospective employer perceived within the industry?