As a job seeker, statistics say you have all the power: today’s tight job market puts applicants in the driver’s seat as they shop around for the right position. You also possess another type of power—the ability to access mountains of information about companies with a quick internet search. It’s wise to take advantage of that ability and research companies before you send out a slew of resumes.
Think of yourself as a “job detective” when you research companies that you’re interested in. Sure, salary and benefits are a huge consideration, along with job responsibilities, but what about the aspects that aren’t always advertised? Here are five things you should know about a company before considering a position:
1. The company’s reputation.
According to a recent survey, 95% of employees said insight into a company’s reputation is important. This should be considered basic background information that encompasses many areas. For instance, does the company have a reputation for burning out employees with unrealistic workloads and long hours? (Some companies see this as a badge of honor!). What is their turnover rate? Do employees complain about lack of training or poor management? Has the company been involved in lawsuits regarding discrimination? If a company has a bad rep, you’ll find evidence on the internet if you dig deep enough.
2. The company’s stability.
Before you commit to working for someone you should get a feel for how long they’re going to be around. Of course, nothing is certain, but a company’s stability is fairly easy to gauge. Are sales, and more importantly, revenues increasing or decreasing? What is the overall trend for the past five to ten years? If the company is a start-up—which could offer the potential to grow along with it—there may not be profits yet, but you can still look at growth trends. It’s also fair to ask about plans for growth in an interview.
3. The company’s policy on flexibility.
For many of today’s job seekers, the ability to work remotely, participate in job sharing or other flex options is a very important perk. Thanks to numerous studies that show that workplace flexibility can improve work-life balance, boost productivity and improve employees’ mental and physical health, more companies are offering some type of flexibility. If this is high on your wish list, be sure to check out the company’s policies.
4. The company’s opportunities for growth and development.
Unless you want to stay in the role for which you’re applying forever, it’s a good idea to find out if the company offers training, leadership programs or educational assistance. Also, do they outline career paths and tend to promote from within? Many companies will provide information on career development on their websites, particularly if they support growth and development.
5. The company’s values and culture.
“Fit” is a two-way street: companies want to find the best candidate for the position and their company culture, and you want to find the best company for your personal strengths and values. Lots of companies will say they’re a “great place to work,” but what exactly does that mean? Do they provide insights into the day-to-day work environment? Do they support the community or other charitable causes that are important to you? Do they proudly display photos from company team-building events? Does the mission statement or company values sound like they mesh with your own values? Do they have a formal or informal atmosphere? Decide what means the most to you and then look for a company that offers the best fit.
While you can glean a lot from a company’s website, don’t stop your search there. As you research companies, look for online reviews, as well as how the company responds to negative reviews (there are websites dedicated to company reviews). You can also check out the company’s LinkedIn page, do some research on the leadership, talk to people in your network, and look for general news about the company.
You may not find the perfect fit, but with some research, you can get closer to the mark! Check out more on College Recruiter.