As a job seeker, the most frustrating aspects of the job search are usually writing resumes and answering interview questions, but there’s another aspect of the job search we don’t focus enough attention on: the companies we apply to.
In December, Glassdoor released its fifth annual Employees’ Choice 50 Best Places to Work list, with these well known companies scoring top spots: Facebook, Google, and McKinsey & Company. Unfortunately not everyone can land a job at one of these coveted companies. So when you see a lesser-known company advertising a job you’re interested in, how do you judge whether it’s right and will ultimately stand the test of time?
Take into consideration these four tips when conducting your company search.
Read Reviews from Employees AND Customers
Glassdoor not only provides lists of the best companies to work for, but they also provide reviews from past and present company employees who often dish on the inside scoop. You can often find information on company culture, salary, and opinions on company pros and cons. Of course not every company in the world has a review to its name but it’s absolutely worth a search.
If the company you’re applying to sells products, do a simple Google search to see what customers have to say about its service and products. You can learn a lot about how a company operates just from reading what customers have to say.
Check the Turnover Rate
You may have already observed this depending on how long you’ve been job searching. If you’ve been sifting through the same job board sites for the last 6 months and have seen a company advertise multiple times for the same job, this should raise a red flag. It doesn’t mean you should discount the company right away but it should make you dig a little deeper into researching what’s happening on the inside. If you get to the interview stage, ask questions like, “why hasn’t this position been filled yet?” or “why wasn’t the last person who held this position successful?”
Be Exceptionally Observant in Your Interview
This goes beyond asking the right questions. Don’t let your nerves and jitters get the best of you. From the time you enter the building to the time you exit, you should be looking for signs. Is the office clean or are the aisles lined with trash and office supplies? If you have time, ask where the restrooms are and try to walk by the kitchen. Do you see snacks, coffee or tea? What do you hear in the halls? Are employees chatting around you or are they silent? You should be detailing all of these aspects as they are all key to whether you’ll feel comfortable at this company.
Connect with Current and Past Employees
Social media can be a lifesaver here but it’s important not to be pushy. In this digital age, many company employees have a social presence on LinkedIn or Twitter and if they aren’t actively posting about life at X company, it doesn’t take much effort to ask about it. Connect with them on LinkedIn or send them a direct message on Twitter to see if you can pick their brain. Also, some companies have a social media manager or community manager who runs the company’s social media accounts. Check the company page for links to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even YouTube. You can find great information on company culture from pictures and other information posted on these sites.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Doostang!
Founded in 2005 at Harvard, Stanford and MIT, Doostang was created with one goal in mind: to successfully advance ambitious young professionals in their careers. Doostang offers its members the opportunity to search thousands of high-quality, highly relevant job opportunities, and tools to leverage their inside connection to get hired. Follow Doostang on Twitter!