Friday, October 5, 2007

Helping Clients Research Prospective Employers

As careers professionals, we often advise clients to research prospective employers, to help identify how their skills and experience can be an asset. That can be (relatively) easy if the client's target is a public company or nonprofit -- but what if they want to work for a private company or a start-up?

Here is an excellent article on how to help your clients find out more information about a private company. Author Laurence J. Stybel tells how to use "scuttlebutt" to get the information your client needs.

Also, Forbes compiles a ranking of the top 500 private companies each year. If it's a manufacturing company, try the Thomas Register. Check out the Secretary of State (in the company's home state) for their filing.

Bondra Information Service (a fee-based research company) offers the following guidelines to direct the client'ss company analysis:
  • Determine which of the two types of companies your target company is:
    • Publicly traded-trade on stock exchanges.
    • Privately held-more difficult to find information. Not required to file documentation because there are no shareholders. Much information is limited to directories and local publications and some trade magazines, etc. Sales figures are usually guesstimates
  • Determine the level(s) of Information that you are seeking
    • Need or end-user usually determines sophistication of information.
    • Determine what you need to know.
  • Basic facts
  • Current and future state of the company
    • News-what is the most current news? Older than 6 months is more for historical research/background.
    • Trends and forecasts
      • (Where is the company now?)
      • Where might it be in 3-6 months vs 1-3 years?
      • Is the company in a growth or retreat mode? Why? What factors? Economic? Lawsuits, etc.
    • Financial Information
      • How is the company's balance sheet, income statement, earnings, eeps, dividend(s)?
      • How is the stock price doing? Current price vs historical price? Charts & graphs.
      • How is the stock doing against its competitors? Against the market as a whole?
      • What is the consensus on the stock by Wall Street Analysts?
    • Strategy-What is the company's short term and long term strategies?
    • Domestic vs International Markets
      • Is the company strong or weak domestically vs overseas? Where does the company make most of its profit?
      • What do each of the regions and products/divisions contribute to the whole?
    • Technology issues-is the company technologically driven?, How is it affected by the Internet?
    • Legal and regulatory issues
      • What are the current or future regulatory and legal issues which might effect the company?
      • What are the major state, federal or international bodies which might have influence?
      • Are there any possible pending bills or regulations which might have a significant impact?
    • Market Share. Is the company a dominant players? Why? What size of the market do they own or influence in the industry or industries that they are in or products/services that they sell?
    • Innovations/New Products/Patents-Does the company have any new products/services/patents?
    • Information Dissemination-What vehicles are used to disseminate information?
      • Web Page
      • Major PR and media for the industry including wire services, trade publications.
      • Industry Associations
      • Trade Shows/Conventions
      • Government Information

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