Thins to Research about Organizations

Thins to Research about Organizations
The organization’s mission and vision
You might have an idea of what the organization does (for example, providing after school
programs to teenagers) but you should also know why it does this work (to close the achievement
gap) and the organization’s values (direct communication, including parents in decision making).
Having this key background information will allow you to better explore your role and experience
in helping the organization fulfill its mission.
The organization’s recent achievements and news
A quick Google search or review of the organization’s “press room” might yield helpful
information on the organization’s successes and challenges, and what this means for your role. For
example, if a major grant was recently awarded, how does this grant affect the organization’s
future goals and programs? Conversely, you might stumble across unsavory news about the
organization — say, a leader that was asked to step down. In this case, what does this reveal
about the organization’s culture and their plans for change internally?
The organization’s field and unique position
No organization is an island. Going back to our earlier example of a nonprofit that provides after
school programs, what’s happening in education and out-of-school programming in general that
might affect their work? Who are other key players in the field that the organization might be
aware of? And what makes this organization distinct from others? You might not be able to gather
all of this information from an internet search, but even a little data can give you greater context
about the environment in which the organization is working and help you think of better
The organization’s community and employees
Who will you be working with? What community are you serving? How do employees and
constituents view and engage with the organization? Look on LinkedIn for past employees to see if
they would be willing to chat with you about their experiences. If the organization has events,
stop by to see how they engage with their community. This kind of information goes a long way to
helping you determine organizational culture and how you’ll fit in.
We know that hiring managers use social media to research candidates. What will they find if they
were to search for you? (Personally, I have had hiring managers bring up an article I wrote or make
note of my social media presence during an interview!) Be prepared to answer questions about
your social media presence or personal brand during an interview.