When do I research employers?
It’s a good idea to start snooping before you prepare your resume or apply for a position. By doing some due diligence early, you can quickly rule out any company not fitting your needs, ethics, or desired career path. It’s better to pull the plug early on a job and turn your focus on positions more worth your effort and time.
Where do I start looking?
Conducting employer research is much like preparing any other project or even school assignment. The idea is to put together a list of resources and based on findings, decide whether a particular company is the right fit for you. Be sure to consider your goals, strengths, and passions to see if the company is a match for your direction in life. Here are a few good places to start your investigation:
• Corporate Website. Look for industry information, product or service details, and management information. Any decent corporate site will list company age, size, partners, and leadership details.
• Google. You’d better believe any new employer is going to dig for your digital dirt. Why not do the same? Search forums, websites, blogs, and online articles to see what others have to say about the company’s products, services, and employee relations. You may be surprised.
• Better Business Bureau. Bureaus can alert you to complaints against companies in your area. Be sure to consult them to see if your prospective employer is on the list.
• Trade Publications. Research the employer’s industry activity in trade papers. Find their contributions to science, technology, or research. Read magazines, trade publications, and journals related to the field and organization.
• Professional Associations. Is the company affiliated with an association? Consult the association website to see if the prospective employer is in good standing and how they contribute to the profession.
• Annual Reports. Is the company public or private? Look to annual reports to reveal LOTS of interesting corporate details like their financial situation, health of the industry, mission statement, and staff numbers.
• Advertisements. Check out any product or service ads the company runs in the media. Seeking out marketing information may be a key to how successful the company is in business and with clients.
• Employee Handbook. Ask the Human Resources Department for the company’s employee handbook to find details on health packages, compensation, retirement details, vacation time, sick leave, and personnel policies. It’s amazing how a simple handbook can change your mind about a prospective employer.
• Past Employee References. Do you know of a former employee of this company? Ask them why they left, who they reported to, and if they would ever work there again. A poor reference may be a good tell-tale sign.
• Current Employee References. Do you know a current employee? Will the human resources department let you speak candidly to current members of staff? Interviewing current members of the team is an excellent way to judge if you want to work with this employer in the future.
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