10 things to check about your future employer

Monday, July 11th, 2011 - career transition, Employer, Employment, Hiring Manager, Job Advert, Job Application, job hunting, job search


10 things to check about your future employer

Zehn

When searching for a new job with your fresh new and Professional CV, do you ever checkout your potential future employer beyond noticing that they are advertising in your favourite jobs board?

When you consider two key statistics, perhaps you need to do more than just click to apply:

  • That three out of every five new businesses won’t survive until year five
  • That since the recession of 2008, the chance of a business surviving is less than 7 in 10
  • That 35% of employees leave their job in the first year, because they don’t get on with their new boss

So here are 10 things to check about your future employer:

  1. Google them: when 8/10 employers will now Google your name after deciding that you do pass the basic CV Checks, then should you at least be doing the same? You should find both company originated information, information from suppliers/buyers, and also potentially news items
  2. What form of legal entity? They may write lots of nice and fancy words inside their job advert, but are they actually a registered company, and where are they registered (could tell you a lot about where you might work). Most countries have a national version of the UK Companies House where all such legal records are held, or may like some European countries or States in the United States keep such information at local level. All of these basic records (address, date of registration. legal status) are normally free for various statute legal reasons, so make sure that you check them out
  3. Check out their website: read and checkout their website. Does the information on the website tally with both what they say in their job advert, the legal information that you obtained on that entity?
  4. Call their phone number: this one always amazes me, and it doesn’t matter how big/well established the company is, but call their phone number. Pose as a potential customer who has a question, and what you are seeking to achieve is to have them send you an information brochure on their products and services. Firstly, does the number work, secondly how do they handle you, and thirdly does the information actually show up?
  5. Who works there? This is where you can start using social media and networking sites like LinkedIn to start to interact with their employees – and also their competitors. Because if this company is not right for you, perhaps another company in the sector is? After checking out if you have an insider connection in that company, start posing general market and company questions in social media forums, in the groups or areas of that forum where this companies employees congregate. At the end of this exercise you should be able to tell: why people join, why they stay, and why they leave. In other words, all of the soft social issues that you can’t learn from reading that companies formal press releases and information!
  6. Who is the boss, who is the owner? This may seem an obvious one, but who is the boss of the company, and who is the owner? For big companies, finding the CEO/Chairman of the whole company and the department or subsidiary may be easy, but finding out the owners will also tell you much: how diversified is the share holder base, or is a competitor about to buy them? For smaller companies, much as though one person may appear publicly to be the owner and boss, does the share holder record say the same thing? Often it does not, it tells you a whole different story
  7. Check out the financials/numbers: this is a basic, but one of the answers by now should have given you access to a view of their financial figures. Simply are they growing/stable or in decline, and if so why and how quickly? How does this compare to their competitors?
  8. Check out the products: employers employ you because of your combination of competencies, also known as Skills, Qualifications and Experiences. You join a company because they have or are developing better products, services or ways to deliver better customer experiences. So what do they already have/what are they developing?
  9. Checkout their strategy/news: what are they planning to develop in the future/how do they see the market developing? If you see continual press releases and statements re product X which is due in 12months time, and yet that time scale has passed, what does that say? Company news streams will always stay positive, while media news streams – particularly from specialist press and media in that market – may seem both more critical and more optimistic: where does internal agree with external, and visa versa?
  10. Gut feel: at the end of the day, does this company feel right for you? Is it going in the right direction, do the people seem nice and with a positive message, does the organisation offer you now what you want to do next? Often the best new hires are made not because the candidate has the right technical skills, but fits that company’s culture and the hiring managers approach like a glove

This is not a full list of issues to check out on a company -it is due diligence, but its also not – and it purposefully addresses both hard credibility as well as soft people issues, resulting in a final tree of information. But the final answer should be: does this feel like a good place to work?

If yes, apply for a job there; if not, don’t, however good the wages or the offer. Good Luck!

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