Internet sleuthing is a serious business. And if you’re in the business of becoming employed, you may feel obliged slip into the part of detective and Sherlock Holmes the company you’re seeking to work for. And if pre-interview research is your first inclination, your deducing skills will likely lead you on the right path to employment.
Here are 6 things you should find out online before you step through the door.
There’s something to be said about anonymity, and it’s probably that a lot more is said when you can say it anonymously. No one knows what it’s like to work for a company better than those previously or currently employed, and a sites like Glassdoor feature this inside info. Reviews can be public or anonymous, and the site also offers an overall rating of the company.
You can also do a quick Google search for its own review function, and you can even dig deeper by checking the company's Facebook page and clicking the "Review" section on the left hand menu.
If the potential employer has a low Glassdoor score or negative reviews, you can use this type of evidence to ask questions about internal policies and procedures. To the hiring manager, it appears as though you’re demonstrating interest in the company, but also, you’re uncovering the type of expectations that come with the role.
It’s an obvious but sometimes also the easiest step in your recon to overlook. But before you meet in person, set your sights on digitally getting to know your potential future boss, the hiring manager interviewing you and the managers you would be working with. You may uncover common LinkedIn connections, groups or industry networks.
However, what you don't want to do is get too personal. You may be tempted to check their Facebook also, and hey - do you - but don't mention that part. Professional social research is one thing, but admitting to the Facebook creep can come across as just plain creepy.
By understanding the industry, you’re demonstrating your knowledge of the market and what separates your potential employer from companies that sell a similar product or service. If you know the players, it’s easy to plot talking points and demonstrate your knowledge in what the company does (differently). And companies love when they're noticed for these differentiating factors.
You know what they say, money talks. And if there are any significant financial flags, it’s probably telling you that you need dig a little deeper or that you may need to walk. Were there any recent department cuts, significant layoffs or stock plunges? Sure, every company will experience ups and downs; start-ups can be high risk and large firms can fall prey to instabilities that can affect your role, but dig for financial info that will give you some insights into the income.
5. Company culture
People do business with people, and they do it with the ones they like—and this also applies to your co-workers. Likability is the #1 factor when it comes to being hired, so take a look at the company’s online presence and social media; doing so will give you an idea as to whether or not you want to work with these types of people on a daily basis. Are employees engaging and sharing company content on their social media accounts? Are they leaving raving reviews about what it's like to work there? You also need to keep your needs in mind. Are you into a start-up culture but the company looks very corporate or vice versa? Finding out first will help you tailor your approach (and your interview outfit).
6. Press coverage
Scour away and try to find any recent press releases or announcements about growth, product launches, partnerships or events. This type of information opens the door for conversations about how you can add further value. Social media platforms are also gold mines for discovering how the brand engages with its clients, customers and employees. Are there many brand and employee advocates shouting their praises or are there disgruntled trolls milling about badmouthing the business?
A job search isn’t always elementary, but follow these pre-interview tips and you’re a step closer to closing your unemployment case.