Before a job interview, you need to know a company’s goals and values. Before accepting an offer, you need to know its working environment and the types of people you will be working with (and for). Here are four ways to get the information you need to evaluate employer fit.
Have a Clear Definition of What You Want From a Job
Before you start inquiring about what a company can offer you, know what you are looking for from a company. Make a list of what is important for you, not just in terms of salary and commute, but items like the type of work environment you would prefer or how “hand’s on” you want your managers to be when it comes to your work. Consider what type of culture you would thrive in, and the kind of company values you would like to be associated with.
Use Your Network
Current or former employees can provide the best insight to understand a company’s true culture. Check with your network to see whether anyone has personal experience with the company or knows someone you can talk to. See if you can line up a one-on-one with a current employee so that you can get more detail on what it’s like to work for them. As always, if you are currently employed, keep a low profile while doing this. Remember that your current network probably includes those who work with your company, so be careful when it comes to whom share your ambitions with, especially when it comes to social media.
Use Review Sites… With Some Caveats
You can learn a lot about a target company from job review sites like Glassdoor, as they allow anonymous users to post their thoughts on everything from company culture to their CEO. It’s important to note, though, that even though job review sites tend to offer more substance and focus than other types of review sites, you can’t trust everything you read. Look for balanced reviews and overall trends, while skipping emotional rants which may catch your eye, but may also involve specific circumstances that don’t apply to you.
Check Out a Company’s Social Media and Website
A company’s social media may provide a good window into their culture. While it’s important to understand that the “vibe” they give off may not exactly translate to the internal company culture, it will give you a great insight into their goals and values, as well as the type of messaging they are looking to put out to the public. Also be sure to check out the “About Us” section of their web site for the company’s mission statement and overall values.