Monday, March 31, 2014

Researching a Company You Might Want to Work For

I work in high technology, and in particular, the video game industry. What's important to us is that we believe in the company itself and where it is heading. The best way to predict the future is to look at the past, so I recommend that people start at the beginnings of the company. And that they find out if they have had a track record of success, even including whether they adapted to failure. At that point, you can make an informed decision about their ability to succeed in the future. 

To do this, you need to do some very specific research. Most of this, you can do online, so I'll give you some guidance to get started.

Research their history.
Go to, and find the Wayback Machine. Take their current web URL (example: and enter it into the Wayback Machine. You can then go back in time to their prior website versions. You can then see how they changed and modified their website over time. In this way, you can find all the data you need. 

Research their culture.
Find their mission statement. Do they even have one? What does it mean to their company? Do they follow their mission? Does it shine through in their products?

Research their products and / or services.
Online. Offline. Experience them if you can. Read reviews if you can't. Do they create great products or services you would be proud to work on or provide? Would you be delighted to work there and be excited to wake up every day to go there and create magic?

Research their people by finding key names from their website.
Start with their company's web page, and then look at employees. Now, dig into Look them all up. Dig around. How many other employees or ex-employees can you find? Check their dates of employment. What is their turnover like? How long do people work there at different levels of the company? Do the high level people stay around? What about the mid and lower level employees? Pay attention to the ones that are at or above your level. 

Research their location.
Are there other companies in the same field nearby? If you lose your job, will you be forced to move?

Research their future.
What direction is their CEO taking them? Do you want to go with them on that journey?

If you like what you see, write your resume to match their job description and be sure to take into account what you "feel" about the company when you do the re-write. And tell them why you're interested in the things you found in your research. The location, the products, the length of service of their employees. Whatever you can say that you truly believe. No lies. Ever. Best of luck to you!


Billy Joe Cain is an Executive Recruiter in the video game industry and has worked for Electronic Arts and started three game studios in Austin, TX. Since 1992, he has created games such as Wing Commander: Prophecy and SpongeBob SquarePants: Revenge of the Flying Dutchman.

Please connect with him on LinkedIn and mention you read his blog!

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