How To Research your Potential New Employer
Everyone knows you should research a prospective employer before going into the interview and that sickening feeling when you realise you should have done more (this writer was once told, after saying what she knew about the company, that it wasn’t enough because she “could just read that off their website”). But what exactly should you be researching about your new role, and why?
Find out about current employees
By looking at LinkedIn or an Early Years setting’s ‘Meet the Team’ page, you can learn a bit more about who already works there (and who, therefore, must have been successfully interviewed). If they’re listed, look through their experience or qualifications to get a better idea of what the employer is looking for in a new candidate. If you don’t have the same skills don’t let it put you off – you’ve been invited to interview for a reason. However, if you do have similar experience, make sure to emphasise this during the interview. It also helps to research the people interviewing you. You never know – you may have started out in childcare the same way or have worked with the same people in the past, which will give you more to talk about in the interview and more of a chance to build a rapport with your potential employers.
Look up the composition of the setting
If you are applying to work at a nursery, is It independent or part of a larger chain? How many people are on the team you may be joining? Depending on what your plans are, knowing the prospects for moving to a different location or working your way up to a more senior role within the organisation can be very helpful for both shaping your answers to your interviewers’ questions and helping you ask the right questions to make sure this is the organisation and role for you.
Check the social media
A setting’s socials are a great way to find out what the atmosphere and company culture are like and, therefore, judge how well you’ll fit in. For example, if the social media is purely informative then that’s clearly the image they want to get across to the families of children in their care, and you should match this with an appropriately formal attitude. However, if their socials include fun TikToks with the practitioners showing their sillier sides, they’re clearly happy with having a less formal online image and you can emphasise how much you’re looking forward to joining in.
Look for news about the setting
Search Google and Google News for any headlines or stories mentioning your potential setting. They may have been featured for raising money for a certain charity, or for spearheading a new policy or technique. The setting may specialise in looking after children with particular needs, or in an unusual approach to educating their children. The more you know about their policies and unique qualities as a setting, the more you can talk about how and why they appeal to you as your next employer and can show how well-suited you are to the role.
Read the Ofsted Report
Using reports.ofsted.gov.uk, look up the most recent Ofsted report for your potential new setting to see how they were rated and where they need improvement. If you have particular experience in some of the areas they have found difficult, this could be the perfect opportunity to show what you can bring as a new employee. For example, if the setting is ‘not yet outstanding because the current sleeping arrangements for babies need improving in order to provide a more relaxed and calm environment’ and your current/previous roles excelled in this regard, use this to your advantage!
There is no point doing all this research if you then freeze in the interview and can’t remember what you’ve read about them. Make notes to take in with you, or on flashcards to rehearse before the interview so you can remember the main points. You don’t need huge essays, just to make sure your mind doesn’t go blank right when you need to prove you’ve prepared!
Overall, the more research you can do, the better. There is no such thing as over-preparing when you’re trying to dazzle a new employer. After the interview it may even feel like you didn’t need most of the research because it didn’t come up, but this is much better than being caught out during the interview and will give you a good grounding if you end up getting hired!