Matching your career path with a company that’ll take you part-way along the route is little more than a gamble if you don’t do the research. It’s all about best fit, for you and the company. The more you find out prior to joining a company then the less likely you’ll find yourself parked in some forgotten career cul-de-sac a few frustrating months down the road.
Knowledge is power
It is, simple. The job seeker is in the driving seat thanks to access to the enormous information that the Internet offers. It’s never been easier to find out about the nuts and bolts of a company and to discover the people who are driving it forward. For example, a search online, for new open positions or knowing more about a company’s past or future prospects, can be achieved with just a click or two of a mouse. What is the company culture, what are employees saying about the organization? What are the future prospects or current clients? All information can be accessed easily, all it needs is a few dedicated hours that can help you rise above the competition during the interview. Awareness and knowledge is always the key to success. Start right.
Look beyond the job description
Far too many job applicants tie themselves up with the minutia of the job description and barely look at the wider picture. The truth is we’re all guilty of doing that to some extent. Although some of us learn to peel our eyes away, sadly many of us never learn and just keep repeating the same mistake. It’s highly likely that you might not be able to tick off all requirements and expectations listed in the job description. Don’t be discouraged, find out what the job entails through some informational interviews with those you know or are in your network.
Here are some ways to start on the your research to be better prepared for the interview:
The company website
Any company worth its salt has a website. The look and feel of the website is an indicator of how much store the company places in terms of its image, the face it presents to the world. But watch out. All may not be quite what it seems. After all, utilizing even a modicum of web design ability, a mediocre company can appear to be much more than it actually is.
What are employees and customers saying?
You can find out easily through social media because most companies nowadays have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Check out any conversations taking place between the company and its customers. Does the company share what it’s doing with its customers? Are any complaints dealt with promptly? And what are employees saying, if anything? Do they appear a happy bunch or do they complain a lot? The answer to these and other questions should help you decide whether the company will hinder or enhance your career prospects.
What about offline?
Never old fashioned and in fact may be the best approach. In this Internet age of instant communication, sometimes the best way of finding out what makes a company tick is to ask, face-to-face. Maybe you know someone who actually works there? If you do, pick their brains. Any insight gained will go a long way to helping you decide if the company is likely to be a stepping stone or a hindrance to your career prospects.
Technology might be to your rescue here again, if you are active on online networking websites like LinkedIn, there is a strong possibility you might find a few references who can help you look beyond the job description and give you an insider’s view on what it is like to work with the company.
Good luck! And know that your luck gets stronger with better research.