It’s tried-and-true, sage advice – there’s no substitute for preparation. Before an interview, career fair or other engagement with a company you’re interested in, it’s important to do your digging. After all, interviews are a two-way street: you have to be a good fit for the company you’re interviewing with, and they also have to be a good fit for you!
But with limited time, competing priorities and practically unlimited information (thanks, internet) at your fingertips, it can be tough to know where to start.
It’s interview season for many college and university students, and our Early Careers team is taking to the (virtual) road, sharing tips and tricks for the process with students and prospective hires from around the country. Today, we’re talking research.
Our advice? Start here, with these 10 questions.
1. The basics.
What is this company’s mission, vision and values? Do they align with yours?
You’ll likely be able to find this information on the company’s website. You can read about SAS’ mission, vision and values here.
2. Do they offer job opportunities that align with my education and passion?
You may still be figuring out what your passion is – and that’s totally ok. Regardless, you’ll want to have an idea of what types of skills the company is looking for and get a sense of whether or not those skills match with yours, as well as your interests.
3. Are they located where I want to work? Is it fully remote or hybrid?
Depending on what you’re looking for, location may or may not be important to you. Look for an article or webpage detailing the company’s position on hybrid and/or remote work or take a look at recent job postings to see if there’s any telling information. At SAS, we include this information in each job posting.
4. Based on market research, does their pay scale align with my needs?
Depending on the company and state, this information may be publicly available. If not, do some market research and determine what your target range is, so you’ll be prepared if you’re asked about your compensation expectations.
5. What health care or medical benefits are offered?
Health care and your well-being are important. What kind of health care, dental and vision coverage is offered? Is the type of plan (high deductible vs. PPO, for example) important to you?
SAS offers comprehensive medical, prescription, dental and vision plans with a low annual deductible. We also have an on-site Health Care Center and Pharmacy (HQ)!
6. What other benefits are offered? Think about what is most relevant and important to you.
A good place to start is a company’s website, job descriptions or a third-party site, like Glassdoor.
At SAS, we have a Total Rewards philosophy, which focuses on rewarding our people in the ways that matter most. In addition to medical benefits mentioned above, some highlights include…
- Over 35 paid days off per year, including our much-loved U.S. Winter Wellness Break between December 25 and January 1
- 20 hours of Volunteer Time Off and a variety of other paid leave
- Unlimited paid sick/wellness days
- A 401(k) plan, including a generous employer match and employee pre-tax and Roth contributions.
- Onsite Recreation and Fitness Center (HQ)
- Onsite Health Care Center – free to employees and covered dependents (HQ).
- Programs and resources to help you prioritize your health and well-being.
7. Do I know anyone at the company? What are their experiences?
Use LinkedIn to see if you have any mutual connections at the company. If you do, reach out to ask about their experiences. You may not know anyone, and that’s OK! Many companies have employee voices published on blogs and other channels to help you get a feel of what it’s like to work there.
For the inside scoop on the #saslife, search #saslife on LinkedIn to hear directly from our people, and check out our Our Storytellers blog series.
8. What do online reviews say?
Consult the Goog and do a little digging on what current or former employees are saying about the company you’re interested in. Platforms like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Handshake are a good place to start.
9. Do you know what your career goals are long-term, and does the company offer growth opportunities?
Regardless of your goals for the future, take a moment to read up on the company’s opportunities for growth. This could include things like leadership development programs, rotational programs and training and development opportunities to grow and sharpen skills.
10. Is the company privately held or publicly traded?
Privately held and publicly traded companies operate a bit differently, so it’s good to know whether a company you’re considering is privately held or publicly traded. To research a publicly traded company, check out their 10k annual report - this will have details on everything from financial performance to competitors and even market analysis. Check out this article by Investopedia to learn about some of the differences!
SAS is currently the largest privately-held software company in the world – but that’ll be changing in the coming years. Last year, we announced our intention to be ready for an initial public offering (IPO) by 2024.
This guide certainly isn’t comprehensive – we all have needs and care-abouts that are as unique as we are. As you’re researching prospective companies, let your curiosity be the guide and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Let us know in the comments – what’s your best tip for researching a company?
Interested in an early-career opportunity at SAS? Check out sas.com/intern and sas.com/grads to learn more and apply.