Last Updated on 15 October 2020 by Gertrude
Why is it important to do company research as a freelancer? And how do I do company research?
Career websites like career sidekick in their blog, How to research a company for a job interview: 7 Steps, say that researching a company helps your build confidence so the likelihood of embarrassing yourself during an interview is reduced.
A company’s research helps you uncover a few hidden facts about a company, like the company’s culture.
A company’s culture could be they’re night owls, they don’t dress up in suits, they work as they live in a community, the boss doesn’t believe in desks.
You will know via company research if the money you ask for will get paid in time or why the company is hiring a freelancer.
See what reviews on Glassdoor say about the company you are applying to freelance for.
Some companies have a bad reputation for non-payment and abusive towards their workers.
Just because you’re working for as a freelancer doesn’t mean you may not face the same abuse.
It’s easier as a freelancer to do company research these days, why?
Because companies are on Linkedin and employees are giving reviews of the company.
The good, bad, ugly, they are saying why working for a certain company is good or bad. See, what they say about Apple on Glassdoor.
How to Research a Company Before a Work Online Interview
The following are important reasons why researching a company before a work online interview is crucial and they include:
- Research the website to understand the company
On a company’s website, you get to learn about a company’s culture. Why people love to work with them.
You also get to see their contact information and who will be interviewing you.
You understand how a company is structured and how they prefer to be named.
Some people don’t love to be called sir/madam but addressed by their name.
You get to see the language the company uses and what is acceptable in terms of language to use when addressing the management.
On the meet our team page, you get to see, who works there and who you can connect with if you have further questions about the company.
There’s the information displayed about the services/products the company sells too. So you know what the company sells other than the work they want to give you.
If you study the product it becomes easier for you, in case, you are in sales to provide suggestions on how to sell a particular product.
Or how to handle the company’s social media strategies or content marketing strategies.
These are often overlooked the company’s goals, especially if the company is big.
Sleuth around the career section and see what role they have and if you can counteroffer in case you don’t succeed in the current role.
Check for what makes the company special.
Are they an ecological sound company solving the green needs of the environment?
Are they a company that believes in giving?
Research the company’s values, mission and vision.
It’s important to check the company’s location – you want to know what countries, where the company is based, are location-dependent so you can apply for more opportunities.
Also, the size of the company matters as you want to know the expansion opportunities which are open.
Researching a company helps you not to ask questions already answered.
2. Social media snooping
Snooping about a company on social media gives you an idea of what questions to ask.
You will get to see what others complain about the company.
I realise no matter the good ratings of a company, there are some bad things which customers don’t see.
So, look around the social media pages, who creates the posts and answers.
For example, when looking for answers on Safaricom or KCB pages, you get to see how some customer service handlers answer questions to customers.
On social media, you get to keep abreast on what the company unveils in terms of new services, products, their presence and what they talk about, what their plans for the future are.
3. Interview yourself
There is fun in interviewing yourself. You write down all the questions according to what you found out from social media and websites.
Then create interview questions according to what you found out.
Interviewing yourself gives you the confidence to meet the interviewer and line the kind of questions which you didn’t find answered on their website, social media pages.
Interviewing yourself means realising some facts which may or may not appeal to you about the company.
4. Check the competition
Through a company’s research, you get to see the company’s competitors.
Watching the competitors means you can help fill in the missing gap.
For example, when searching for e-commerce platforms you see the most popular one, Shopify.
Now, in another Google search bar, ask another one like Shopify.
Competitors help you as a freelancer know the kind of products or services not provided in the company.
You can help suggest these additions to the company you want to work for.
Or while attending the interview you can ask the client questions of why they haven’t added a certain product or service to their company.
5. Check on YouTube
YouTube, a powerful way to market content isn’t well utilized by businesses in Kenya.
On YouTube, you can watch the videos the company creates and what they advertise.
Most companies use YouTube to shoot ads or talk about their success stories and introduce more services or products.
Look at what’s missing, what aren’t they doing?.
It could be they don’t use keywords when writing video descriptions or they don’t use tags properly. And that’s a gap right there.
Ask them if they have a budget to hire a YouTube Manager or make a reason for them to create the position.
Soe positions come to those who follow them.
6. Snoop on Linkedin
Linkedin is a place for companies to connect with employees -world-class ones. Hiring managers look for your photo.
Ensure you have a professional photo added on your profile.
A professional photo means a photo with you looking at the camera, carrying a smile and wearing formal clothes. Don’t take or add photos of your kid within your photo.
How to take professional photos for your Linkedin or Social Media profile
How to Use Linkedin to find a job in 2020 for freelancers in Kenya
On Linkedin you want to clean up your social media, meaning, check your language on Facebook. Do you use terms like bitch and fuck you to talk about your former bosses?
Linkedin is used by professionals and you have to behave the part, pay attention to your headline, how do you describe yourself?
The best companies like Apple and Google find talent on Linkedin.
Use Linkedin to research and connect with employers and find information about the company’s structure, hiring managers, marketing strategy.
7. Sleuth on Google News
On Google news, you get to know what the company is releasing or launching in terms of new services or products.
Questions About Working for an Online Company You Must Answer
Before committing or signing the dotted line to work for an online company, there are some questions to answer as a newbie freelancer/seasoned work from home individual. The questions include:
Who is the CEO?
Or how is the company structured? How do they call the top echelon or leader of the company?
What’s the company’s culture?
What do they wear to work? Do they work in a community desk with no cubicles? Is the company an entirely remote company with no physical locations?
What business is the company you want to work in?
Yes, they may want to hire you as a content manager or graphic designer or web designer. But do you know if the niches they are in suit your niche?
How long has the company been in business?
Knowing the length of a period of time the business has been on makes you understand what the company values most.
Companies, most of them with the existence of over 50 years, value family and closeness. When you get employed there, you’re expected to behave as family.
What’s the company’s reputation?
Sleuthing on Google news or social media about a company’s reputation is so important.
You don’t want to work for a company who doesn’t show respect to freelancers because they’re freelancers.
What is the address?
Know where the company is located in case you will be moving to a different country or near one of the company’s locations.
Who is the hiring manager?
I love when I’m called by my name and not madam this madam that.
Who are the competitors?
A company’s competitors will help you know what industry you’re getting into.
Plus you may be able to come up with great ideas to help advance the company you want to work for.
What’s the size of the company?
A company with thousands of employees, means, in most companies, no communication and intense competition among the workers.
Also, it’s hard to stand out or get recognised for the work you do.
Do you want to work for the big or a small tight-knit company?
What’s their payment frequency?
Some companies prefer to advance daily payments to their freelancers while others prefer monthly.
Some will pay twice a week. Knowing when and how you get paid helps you plan for bills and also project your earnings in advance.
Find out how much they pay their regular workers/full-time workers.
Finding out how much regular workers get paid will give you an average idea of how much you will get paid.
Note: This is if employees are willing to share information about how much they get paid.
MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE TIP:
I became so accustomed to searching for company’s information on Linkedin that if they don’t have visibility on Linkedin, I know, I may never get paid.
Why is the company avoiding Linkedin? Do they have a Facebook presence?
What are the people on social media saying about the company on social media or Glassdoor?
If a company’s not there on Linkedin or social media, it’s time to sharpen your freelance contract.
Why Is Company Research Critical for Freelancers Working Online in Kenya?
Before realising how important company research is for a freelancer, I ignored it.
The aim was to make money and go home, I didn’t need to know much or anything about the freelance client.
After all, freelance clients, some of them, are a bit cold towards their freelancers or contractors.
As the years roll by and I keep working for clients and searching for them without the help of freelancing websites like Upwork, it’s important to learn what company you’re about to work for.
The following are top tips for why conducting company research is so important for freelancers working online in Kenya and they include:
- So that you have questions for the hiring manager because you’re expected to be curious and interested in the company
It’s important to have questions for the hiring manager because, after the conclusion of an interview, the hiring manager asks, do you have further questions for me?
Employers want to employ freelancers with a passion for the brand and doing company research means you dug deeper.
Related: Questions to ask a Freelance Client in an interview
How to answer, ‘do you have further questions for me?’ in a freelance/work at home interview
2. Doing company research shows your passion
I heard a story when I searched for a job before landing on freelancing, of a guy who researched the company information and found out about the company’s president.
The guy got the job because of knowing the name of the company’s president!
You want to know the kind of company you’re going to work for.
You want to show that you’re the right candidate and that you stand above the other freelancers, research the company.
Find out their products/services and anything important.
3. Uncover if the company is a good fit for you
If I researched about the SEO company I worked for in 2019, I wouldn’t have bothered.
I was so pumped up with the green currency I forgot to check a few things, both in my writing careers and personal life.
I didn’t ask questions during the interview because I thought and believed I’d figure it all out along the way.
Sometimes, asking questions is the best way to form a connection with a company.
You want to scrutinise whether their communication style suits you. How the company’s schedule for communication fits into your lifestyle.
You want to know if the products they sell and the services they offer are what or match your ideologies.
You cannot work for a liquor company or a drug lord if you don’t believe in the business. That’s the quickest and surest way to die.
Your responses to questions about the company help them know you’re a team player and therefore a member.
Answering questions about a company helps the company know whether they’re recruiting the top talent or another lazy bum.
Stand out by solving problems or bringing ideas to the table that solve the company’s problems.
4. Answer the question why do you want to work for us
This is the most common interview question asked in a freelance setting and office setting too. Why do you want to work for us?
If you don’t do the research well about the company you want to work for, how are you going to answer this question?
You want to be a valued team player.
And valued team members know why they opted to work for company A and not B.
Aside from the lucrative pay, is it the location that attracted you or the company’s giving culture?
Is it because the company believes in saving the environment or is it because the company is a virtual company with locations worldwide and you had a travel bucket to a country where the company is located?
Make the reason for why you want to work for a certain company as honest and as interesting as possible while addressing those pluses you uncovered while doing company research.
Company research is more important in uncovering what kind of employer you’re about to work for as a freelancer.
As a freelancer, it’s about the company’s values for employing work from home workers/freelancers that may be a plus but also, accommodating a multi-national employee base.
You have to know what the company lacks in your niche so that when an opportunity for employment arises, you can apply or know how to ace it.
Also, sometimes, you only get to the interview phase then realise they hired someone else.
If you did some company research, you’d realise they hire in another department which may be your strength.
Freelancers are multi-talented and love to learn, I hope you’re.
It’s interesting to see the companies that believe in employing telecommute/remote workers, an answer you will get through company research.
You get to know what companies are flexible and the opportunities available within the company which don’t reach the public eye.
Have you ever done company research or did you think it was a daunting task like freelance branding?
Do you know the kind of company you’re working for as a freelancer?
Or you don’t care as long as they pay?