How To Research Prospective Employers

How To Research Prospective Employers

Accepting a job offer is a big deal. If you accept a job with a bad employer, you could end up miserable or quit after only a few weeks. To avoid making any mistakes, you should research prospective employers before you accept a job offer. Doing so also allows you to be more prepared for your interview. Follow the tips below to vet your employer before you move forward.

Getting Started

There are several resources available to those who want to learn more about an employer. For instance, you can use industry journals and the public library to gather facts. If you'd rather stay home, use the internet to read what the SEC and others have to say about the company. Social media can also be an invaluable resource. By reading customer reviews or finding previous employees, you can gain insight into the company.

As you research the company, take notes. You'll come across a lot of things, and you might forget some of the information. For your own benefit, take notes and stay organized. You may even want to print out things like press releases and blog posts.

If you know someone who once worked for the company, reach out to them. The best way to learn about a company is to speak with a current or former employee. You should gather as much information as possible from them and ask questions. Were they happy with the company culture? Did they like their boss?

What to Look For

As you research a company, there are a few key details you should look for. First, try to define the company culture. Work atmosphere matters! If you want to be happy in the workplace, you need to work for a company that has your desired atmosphere. So, look for clues that tell you about the environment inside the office and consider how it would impact you.

Today, most start-up companies are more relaxed and informal than big corporations. However, this isn't always the case. You shouldn't just assume that a start-up has a casual dress code or that a major corporation will be too stuffy for you. Check out the company's website and discover more about what a day in the office is like.

Details like the dress code, overtime policy, and company events give you an in-depth look at a company. If you can't find any information online, ask your contact with the company or ask during the interview.

Financial Health

You could have the best job in the world, but it won't do you any good if the company doesn't remain in business. Before you accept a job with anyone. Look into the company's financial situation. Most companies don't make it a point to bring up their shortcomings, but the information is available. As you research the business, look for tax and financing information online. At the very least, you should see an annual SEC report.

Online news outlets also reveal information about a company's financial outlook. Because these articles come from a third party, they tend to be more accurate than what you find on the company website. Just make sure your resources aren't biased and that they cite their resources.

The Competitors

Another way to broaden your knowledge is to research the company's biggest competition. What is the company doing differently or better than the competition? You should know the names of the top competitors and be aware of their accomplishments.

As you look into the competition, make a list of how your prospective company differs. Are they smaller than the competition? More cut-throat? While you learn about the differences, you might find that there are a few things you like better about the company. Pay attention to ethics, atmosphere, and management practices. During your interview, bring up some of the things that you like about the company. They'll appreciate your effort and input.

Employee Satisfaction

If most of the employees in an office are unhappy, you'll probably be unhappy as well. Therefore, you should take some time to read employee reviews. This is easier said than done, though. Not all employee reviews are accurate because you might come across a disgruntled employee.

As you read through reviews, consider whether or not the review is truthful. Does it sound like the experience was exaggerated? Or does it sound too good to be true? Instead of looking at only one or two reviews, read as many as you can. Look for trends in those reviews rather than a few outlying reviews. As with any type of review, an employer review is an opinion.

Why It Even Matters

Do you really need to spend time researching an employer? In short, the answer is yes. Getting a new job isn't easy, even in today's market. If you want to ace an interview or make a good impression on an interviewer, you need to research the company. The employer will expect it from you, and your knowledge could earn you some bonus points.

Sometimes, an employer wants to test your knowledge. Make sure you're ready to answer questions about the company. If you bring in a notepad with you to the interview, you can even use that as a cheat sheet. Just don't rely too heavily on your notes and try to maintain eye contact with the employer.

Another benefit to doing your research is making the best decision for you. If you fail to research a company before you get a job offer, you could make a poor decision. You might hate the company or the boss. Although you can learn about a company the hard way, you make life much easier on yourself by knowing if the company is right for you. In the end, your research could save you from working for a bad company.

Finding a new job may not be easy, but it's possible. The next time you apply for a job, take a few minutes to research the company, and you might find that it makes all the difference.

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