Researching a Prospective Employer

Would you go on a date without knowing the name, likes, interests and basic confirmation of non-serial-killer-status of your prospective match?  Absent your mother, grandmother or aunt pleading or cajoling, the answer is, of course, you wouldn’t.  It just makes good relationship sense that you’d know at least the basics about a person before agreeing to meet, much less share a drink or a meal.

The same can more than be said for your prospective employer.  Before candidates get into a relationship with a new job or office, a little bit of research will go a long way to ensuring corporate marital bliss.  What if one of you likes long walks at lunchtime while the other one is a super early, 5am start kind of morning person?  In addition, researching the company you’re looking to join will score you big bonus points towards landing the job offer in the first place.  

Now that we’ve led you to the watering hole that is researching your prospective employer, we’ve got a few tips that will help you quickly and efficiently find the most relevant info to scope out your interview date.  

The Company Website

What better way to get the lowdown on likes, dislikes, and ideal date than in a person’s own words?  This goes double for any potential employer.  Prior to the interview, scope out the company website.  Pay attention to facts and figures such as office location, company history and any mission statement that might clue you in on what the employer thinks is important in business and business partners.  Sure, you can consider this the company’s best foot forward and public face to be taken with a grain of salt, but hey, we all need something to aspire to, right?

Social Media Sites

Much like perusing the FB page of a new or soon to be social acquaintance, the company’s own, personally maintained social media information channels are a valuable source of background info with which to arm yourself prior to the interview.  

Previously relegated to moms and grandmas wanting to show off adorable pictures of their kids, social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more are increasingly home to some of corporate America’s primary public presence.  How a company interacts with its clients, fans and followers can tell you a lot about expectations when you get in the office.  A quick perusal of professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, or public job boards, can also provide valuable info on your potential co-workers or even your individual interviewer.

Other Online Resources

Never underestimate the value of a good, old-fashioned Google search when it comes to doing reconnaissance on your potential employer.  Looking at recent news stories can garner a wealth of information, both good and bad.  If the company is under investigation or had a recent PR dustup, this can provide valuable insight into what you should, and should not, be focusing on during your interview.  Websites for government or regulatory information, such as the SEC’s various databases, IRS or AML sanctions list, can also help with those red flags that may suggest you should skip the interview altogether, or at least have a friend on standby for that emergency call.

Ask Around

Networking isn’t just for research on job opportunities or open positions.  Asking around with other professionals in your field regarding a company’s reputation can provide valuable insight at all stages of the job hiring game.  Perhaps one of your colleagues previously worked for or with a certain hiring manager.  Meet up for coffee to get a scoop on their leadership style, candidate preferences and more.  These prior associations are likely to provide much more candid advice than anything available on a corporate website so be sure to use the resource to your advantage.

The Early Bird Catches the Worm

Our last tip on the list of how to’s when it comes to researching a potential employer plays double duty.  Arriving early for your interview is always a plus in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers.  In addition, while waiting for your interviewer to finish up their last appointment or make their way over for your meeting, take the chance to surreptitiously scope out the other employees in the office.  

Is the receptionist tense or friendly with their officemates?  Is there laughing and low murmurs of conversation or dead silence in the office?  These small details can go a long way towards letting you know if your interview will lead to a match made in heaven or will be added to the list of awkward conversations you’ll laugh over one day once you’ve found the one.  

Article Updated from the Original on November 8, 2017