Before you attend any job interview or accept any job offer, be sure to research that next potential employer.
Taking this initiative can also keep you from feeling stuck in your job search.
This is what you should be looking for …
You’re looking for facts and first-hand information to help you make a solid decision before opting to leave your current employer.
Specifically, you’re looking for:
- Current/Former Employee Reviews
- Details About Company Culture
- Approx. Employee Turnover Rates
- Growth or Decline in Company Performance
- New Company Happenings
- Salary Comparisons
Indeed, you must be well informed before stepping foot on company grounds.
In fact, your recon might uncover employers you shouldn’t interview with.
Yup, there are “bad apple” companies too that you should avoid at all costs.
So, how should you go about researching new employers?
Of course, there are a few places to start.
Here are some of them…
Strategies & Tools to Research Potential Employers
You’ll begin researching potential employers at ground zero: their company website.
No surprise there, right?
Company websites can educate you about the employer, including:
- Products & Services
- National & International Office Locations
- Current Customers & Vendor Alliances
- Mission Statement
- Size of Operation; e.g. # of Employees
- Who’s @ The Helm
- Years in Business
- Publically Traded, Family Business, or Privately Owned
- Company History & Core Accomplishments
You can find details like the above within the “about us,” “press releases/media,” and “who we are” pages.
Social media properties are also important to check out.
For LinkedIn, search for employer’s names using a hashtag.
For example, here’s a quick search for updates that mention the pharmaceutical giant, Merck: https://www.linkedin.com/search/results/content/v2/?keywords=%23merck
Twitter uses hashtags as well.
Here’s a quick search for tweets on Twitter about Merck: https://twitter.com/search?q=merck
Social media is a great place to discover what the public is saying about potential employers.
You can also learn about happenings in the news and other key notables.
Don’t forget about LinkedIn … as if you would. 🙂
LinkedIn is by far one of the best tools to track and research potential employers.
For example, using LinkedIn you can see:
- New Company Hires
- Company Stats
- New Jobs Posted
- Former Employees
- Related Employers
Once you’ve collected this info, what should you do with it?
For starters, tracking new company hires and jobs posted can help you identify turnover rates.
Having estimated turnover rates for any employer can keep you from joining an unstable employment environment.
Once you have some insight into staff turnover, you may connect with a few former employees — preferably connecting with those who were in a similar job title.
Doing so enables you to find out WHY these employees left the company’s employment.
Pretty neat, right?
Glassdoor is an excellent resource for “insider” company research.
You can learn about the company from current and former employees.
For example, irrational policies and procedures, inability to gain promotions, issues with department managers, and so on.
In the green bar at the top of the home page of the site, select “Companies” from the drop-down menu to locate information on a specific employer.
Membership to Glassdoor is free for those few initial searches.
However, as you continue to use the site, you’ll be prompted to sign up.
The features that Glassdoor offers include:
- Job Openings
- Company Reviews
- Salary Data
- Interview Questions
Find trade groups and associations within an industry, and look for participating companies.
Check out this Wikipedia page for a large list of industry trade groups broken down by industry:
Another resource to track down some of the world’s largest and most well-known nonprofits, you can find those here.
Running a search on companies using a site like InfoUSA (http://www.infousa.com/) can help you generate a target list of employers.
But, you can also purchase the data in the form of a mailing list or email list, which you can then use to make contact for unadvertised opportunities.
Applying for jobs — whether advertised or unadvertised — is the top use for your resume once you’ve written it.
But it’s certainly not the last item on your “to-do” list.
[Related Article: You’ll find 2-3 additional posts in our “Quick Guide to Researching an Employer BEFORE You Accept That Job Offer.”]