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Thanks to the Internet and the employer branding activities of many companies, it is now much easier than ever before to get a comprehensive picture of a potential employer.
Using the following sources you can find out further information about your dream company:
A company's website is the first point of contact to learn more about a potential employer. A good website doesn't just provide information about products. An attractive corporate homepage also deals with the history, organisation and the self-image of the company. You can also often find information about other topics that might interest future workers: Websites provide insights into corporate operations, introduce individual employees and teams or supply information about your potential employer's social engagement.
Increasingly, there is also a dedicated careers section where you can find details about the application process and career development prospects. There is also often information about what documents in which form are required for an application and whether online or email applications are preferred.
If there is no suitable vacancy advertised at the moment, you can also find out in the career section whether speculative applications are desired and, if so, to which contact person these should be sent.
Many companies even have their own fan pages on social networking sites and provide, in addition to specialist information about the company, further details about career opportunities (see "Social Media etiquette") or corresponding operational work.
Candidates who are interested in a particular role should keep up with current world events in addition to the local news in the area around the company's headquarters. How are things going in a particular industry? How are the respective markets developing? Are there currently enough jobs in a given sector? Even political decisions, such as the clean energy revolution may affect the welfare of an industry and any (indirectly) associated companies.
In addition to press releases, you can also often find useful information on corporate blogs – insofar as a company has one of these – or on opinion platforms. Both in the weeks prior to and during the application phase, set up a free newsagent; work with Google Alerts or Talkwater so that you can always be kept up to date about your dream company and collect more information for a possible job interview. RSS feeds are also a convenient way to ensure you don't miss any company news. It is generally advisable to collect as much information as possible about a prospective employer.
Employer review sites like kununu, JobVoting or MeinChef.de offer former or current employees the opportunity to evaluate employers using specific set criteria. Here grades are awarded and individuals' own experiences on various areas related to the employer and the employment relationship (management, work area, responsibilities, salary etc.) can be submitted.
However, you shouldn't overestimate the comments and opinions provided. Although they can certainly give you with an indication of what employers want, which questions you should ask during an interview (or which you should sort out prior to your interview), they should not take the place of you doing your own thorough research. If in doubt, you should always form your own conclusions and then decide for yourself whether other people's opinions are valid.