The internet has made easy work of finding potential candidates through social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. Executive membership sites have thrived in the last ten years providing executives with job search information and recruiters with a database of well-defined and targeted candidates. And you are aware that most job seekers today are Googled before being contacted for a pre-screen or interview. However, when the shoe is on the other foot, how much time and effort do you put into checking out a prospective company before applying to an organization or considering accepting an offer on a potential position?
Executives already know that a large percentage of success when hiring new employees is how well they fit into the company culture. But how does a prospective employee learn what they need to know to determine if they are a good fit with any one organization?
1. If the company is local, drive to their offices and do a little surveillance. Observe the people going to work. Do they appear happy? Are they conversing with fellow employees? What about at the end of the day – is the parking lot still full at 6:00 or 7:00 pm? Do you notice people leaving the offices looking worn out or frustrated? By checking the people coming and going in the morning and leaving work can give you some insights.
2. Teams and teamwork are important points when considering a company culture. How does the organization get things done? Are there several levels of hierarchy to get a decision made? Are teams already in place and, if so, how would you fit with the other team members? Would stepping into a position of leadership create resentment with an existing team? If given an opportunity during the interview stage, request a meeting with the team you would be leading to get a sense of the member dynamics and current functionality.
3. Who do you know who knows the company you are considering as your next employer? Tap into your network to ask questions of people outside the organization to find out what they know. These contacts could be customers or suppliers to the company or even ex-employees. Their experiences will create different perspectives which can be helpful when looking at the potential company from all sides.
4. It goes without saying that checking the company out on Google is helpful as well. You can find out if there are outstanding lawsuits, disgruntled reviews from unhappy customers, bankruptcies, and both bad and good information that can help you evaluate the company. Learning some of these things early in the search can save you time should you determine there is not a good fit.
You may have had a dream at one time in your life to work for Disneyland or Coke and that unfulfilled fantasy may still be lurking in the back of your brain pushing you towards an organization that may not be a good match for you at this stage in your career. Yet, you continue to want to pursue the company. Be realistic and diligent in your research to make sure the critical factors that are important to you are present in that organization. Of course, no one really knows the full effects of fitting into a company until they actually start a job and get grounded, including getting to know the people and processes.
Avoid disappointment in a new job by getting as much information as you can to understand the company culture.