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Planning & Researching a Potential Employer - Pre-Planning - Minimum Preparation

You are expected to fully research every company prior to every interview. It sounds basic but unbelievably around one in four sales applicants in our experience do not undertake any research prior to an interview and hope to be able to ‘wing it’. It is essential that you do some research on the business, industry and market before every interview. It is essential for two reasons a) to demonstrate your interest in the business and b) more importantly, to ensure that the business is right for you!

This exercise will ensure that you do the minimum preparation and not to do so is totally unacceptable in this 'Google' age. As a minimum you will need to know 5 facts on the following:

  1. The Company - 5 solid facts - structure, history, turnover, amount of employees, directors, etc

  2. The Role - 5 solid facts - patch, core responsibilities, key requirements, etc

  3. The Products/Services - 5 solid facts - application, purpose, etc

  4. The Marketplace - 5 solid facts - clients, competitors, how competitive, etc

You will be asked questions such as 'So, what do you know about us?' and 'nothing'/'just what the recruitment consultant told me' will not endear you!

Pre-Planning - Minimum Preparation

To go beyond minimum expectation you could research the following:

Look at the job specification and tailor your CV to the requirements of the job - or do a 'thematic appendix' to your CV that details the job requirements, matching examples that you have of that experience/skill. This will help you enormously in a competency based interview - i.e. questions that are 'give me an example of when you have……..' rather than 'what would you do if………'

Go onto company's house website, for less that £5 you can download the company financial report including data on the company directors (other directorships held, previous directorships, etc.

Google search what the company do - who are their competitors - what are their USP's, who are the key personnel in the competitors, what is their market share, what do people say about them.

Type ' are sh*t>' or ' are cr*p>' into Google - what are people saying about them on social networking/consumer sites and how are they handling it - NB this really works and forms a great chunk for discussion at interview!

See if there are any reports/white papers that the company has been involved in

Google the name of the interviewer and the company name - you'll be amazed how much information you can glean on them - what PR initiatives have they been involved with, recent wins, product launches, etc.

Search Linked in or other networking sites for the name of your interviewer - these often detail their career history, education, professional memberships/affiliations and even interests (have a picture in your minds eye of the interviewer before you meet them) NB Words of WARNING - I once had a candidate who came across as a stalker the amount of information (including their home address and kid's names) that they were able to glean - don't come across as too intense or psychotic!!!

Look for the company's products - USP's, what do they feel like, get a feel for them. If it is a product you can buy or find in a wholesalers get hold of the product, feel it in the shop, demo it for yourself!

Type into the Google bar 'Links:www ' i.e. ‘Links:www.aaronwallis.co.uk’ this will show you who is linking to their website - could be clients, distributors, suppliers that are worth investigating.

Five additional things to research if the role is not confidential:

  1. Call the company for company literature/promotional literature. Explain that you are attending an interview (it will get back to the interviewer)

  2. Call customer services/ the sales office to ask questions to obtain information on market trends, competition, etc. (it will get back to the interviewer!!)

  3. Contact someone already in the post. What is x like to work for? Any hints and tips? What would you research if you were going for an interview? What should I know about the business? Why do you remain with the business? (it will get back to the interviewer!!!)

  4. Contact the equivalent person in your role with a competitor - what does the company do well/not so well? Would you consider working for company x? If not, why not? (understand the weaknesses of the business and potential pitfalls to probe at interview)

  5. Contact clients/distributors to obtain a full rounded opinion of the company prior to interview.



Navigate our Research Content

Researching Companies Prior to Interview

Researching Yourself Before Each Interview


About The Author

Simon Bonner, Associate Director at Aaron Wallis

Simon Bonner

Associate Director at Aaron Wallis Recruitment

Simon is an Associate Director of Aaron Wallis, a national recruitment agency specialising in sourcing sales and marketing staff. Prior to joining Aaron Wallis, Simon spent 10 years selling electronic security products and before this was a National Account Manager for one of the UK's largest recruitment groups.


In his two roles within recruitment, Simon has spent over a decade recruiting sales professionals for both blue-chip businesses and SMEs, giving him a wealth of experience to guide both candidates and employers through their recruitment journeys.  

Find out more about Simon here.


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Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.

UK Sales Manager, Nexcom

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis’ services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

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Aaron Wallis have provided me with an excellent service, Giles went out of his way to help me preparing for my interview and supported me through all the processes. If you need an agency to give you a fully professional and consultative approach to finding you a new career move, the Aaron Wallis can certainly provide this for you.

D. Richards, Candidate

Really excellent experience dealing with Aaron Wallis. Liam Oakes who helped me get a great job was brilliant. Kept me up to date during the process and offered great help and advice, and a thoroughly nice guy. Highly recommended!

J. Hathaway, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

Aaron Wallis helped me secure a position I really wanted. Giles saught to keep me updated with all the details preceding interviews and after with feedback. I would highly recommend Giles and Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.

L. Taylor, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them

C. Caine, Candidate

Excellent experience from first contact to ultimately securing a suitable placement. Giles looked after me in a very professional and friendly manner. He used his expertise and experience to ensure I was put forward for the most suitable positions for my skill set and found me a new role very quickly. I can't recommend Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment highly enough.

M. Green, Candidate

I've had a really good experience working with Giles Phillips at Aaron Wallis. From initial contact to the finer details of securing the job, he has been very professional and a pleasure to work with.

M. Shutt, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

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