Before and after an interview you will want to analyze your potential employer to determine the fit. Organizations are like people who have different personalities. A corporate culture is reflected in the policies, procedures, personnel and work environment. Your research and analysis can help you feel more comfortable with your decision and also increase the chances for higher job satisfaction. Times are very tough. However, if you take a job you don’t want or will feel miserable doing, you will end up quitting soon and then have to restart your job search. This can result in damaging your resume, reputation and references. Don’t let this happen to you.
Be sure to reference check the company because your potential employer will do the same with you. You are going to spend more time with this employer and its people than with any other aspect of your life. You can never truly know what it is going to be like to work there until you start, but at least you will get a better sense of the environment if you do your research and analysis. An organization’s online reputation is their reputation. I might suggest using Barrons.com, Bloomberg.com, BusinessWeek.com, Forbes.com, Fortune.com, Google.com, Hoovers.com, Linkedin.com, Moodys.com, SEC.gov, StandardandPoors.com and WSJ.com.
Often your Linkedin connections or your connections’ connections can give you real information that is not available online or any written resource. Tap into someone’s knowledge or expertise with an Information Interview. To get started, Google my article, How to Initiate and Conduct and Informational Interview.
When analyzing your potential employer, be sure you are clear on what the deal breakers are. Ask yourself, “What answers do I need in order to accept an offer?” Also, consider what would be the 10 things that you would need in order for it to be called an “Ideal Employer.” What can you tolerate and what are the things you can’t stand? How long do you think you would stay in the position? How does this job enhance or diminish your resume?
Fitting in to the corporate culture doesn’t have to mean losing your sense of self in the process. Select what things are most important to you and then investigate what employers fit into that profile. Prior to making that important decision of the right work environment, be sure you investigate the following matters:
What is the vision, goals and plans for the company? When was the company founded and what is its history? Is this the optimal size of an organization for you? What have been annual sales for the last five years? What is the quality of the products and services? Potential new product line or services? What is its reputation and image of the company? Where are the corporate offices and branches? Future growth potential, problems or opportunities? What does it own? Who owns it? Is it financially stable? Any noteworthy media attention? Technologically innovative? How is the organization structured? What role does the organization play in the larger society? How would you describe the personality of the organization? What does it value the most?
The Management Team
How do they describe their management style? Where are they from? Why did they join? How long have they been on board?
How does he/she describe his/her leadership style? Can you work for him/her on a daily basis? Where did he/she come from and what can he/she teach you? What does he/she want from his/her job and the company? Is there a common outlook on your role?
How much turn over is there? Why do they leave and where do they go? What is the work atmosphere? Do employees talk with ease about the organization? Do people enjoy working there? Are these people you’ll work with the kind of people you’ll be proud to be associated with? Since this will be your new “family” will your personality fit in with the people that are already there?
Who are their top rivals? What are the company’s distinctions in the field?
If you excel in your job, what comes next? What is the potential for personal and professional growth and development? What types of training are available? What are the relocation expectations?
Why is this position open? Would you enjoy the major duties of the position? Are the expectations clear? What resources do you need to be successful? What resources are available now? What are the social significances, intellectual stimulations, physical environments and pressures of the job? What do you like the most and least? Will you be respected for the work you’ll do? What kind of pay and benefits package do they offer? Is the “chemistry” there? Is this the right position for you?