It's understood that when companies begin considering you for a job, they're going to do some thorough checking on your qualifications, references and even social media presence.
But how deeply have you probed the company? Beyond looking at the company's website or Facebook page, what do you really know about working for that employer?
No one should consider a job without doing due diligence, and that means some sleuthing beyond the employer's glossy website or carefully curated Facebook postings.
To really find out what it might be like to work for an employer, you need to:
- Do some online stalking. This may sound a bit creepy, but you need to put in as much effort in checking out an employer as you would, say, figuring out if an ex is dating someone new. If you've gotten the name of some employees, try checking out their Twitter or Facebook postings. They may reveal angst, depression or anger connected to their jobs.
- Be skeptical. A company-rating site like Glassdoor shows reviews by employees, who can talk about anything from pay to management to whether the vending machines suck. But sometimes companies don't like poor reviews, so they may instruct employees who have a more positive outlook to post reviews to counter criticisms. This is a problem experienced by other sites where people can post rankings, so be skeptical when you read reviews. Not all employers are trying to load up on positive reviews, but you need to balance this information with other things you may know. A lot of positive reviews in one month, for example, might be an indication that the employer is trying to pump up the ratings.
- Be observant. Think about the people you met at the company. Were you allowed to talk to anyone you wanted? Did the hiring manager give you a tour of the facility -- what was the body language of those working there? It may sound simple, but did they smile? Or, did they give you a look like: "Get out now! Save yourself!"
- Turn to your network. Check out your LinkedIn contacts and see if anyone is connected to the company. If so, that's a way to talk directly to a former worker who may be able to give you a clearer picture of the company. While you're on LinkedIn, do a search of the company name and look at the profile of former and current workers. Do they show a pattern of a short time at the company? This might be a sign they jumped ship because the employer isn't great.
It's estimated that it costs employer more than $4,000 to recruit and hire one new employee. That, of course, is one of the reasons they are focused on doing their due diligence of potential hires. But what does it cost you to look for a job? The time you spend and the resources you use are just as valuable. It's an investment that you should make sure pays off.