Hey Jobseeker! Reference checks work both ways.

All jobs are full of moving parts during the interview process, but fundamentally it’s a two-way street. In order for this courtship to be successful employer and future employee need to move congruently. Unfortunately, most jobseekers know little to nothing about a potential employer. It’s crucial to learn as much as you can about a company before getting too far into the interview process to make certain you’re compatible.

If you don’t do that, you’ll likely be looking for another job within a year because what you thought was a dream job turned out to be a nightmare.

Jobseekers should look at it from a business perspective. It’s critical to investigate a company just as a company is sure to investigate you. It is also imperative to have a comprehensive job-search strategy in place in order to focus on the quality of your applications and not simply the quantity.

Identifying Your Target Companies The best place to start your search is to list your target employers, whether small firms you admire, companies you’ve heard positive things about, or well-known, large regional companies. It is important to focus on the companies that fit in with your values and moral compass. Once you have your list you’re almost ready to begin the investigation stage of this process. But first you need to do some self-evaluating.

Evaluating Your Values It is paramount that you inventory what is important to you and what you value in an employer.

Using the following guideline are essential ..

 Interest—Are you truly interested in working in this industry?  Future—What are the opportunities for growth at this company?  Leadership—Who makes up the company’s leadership?

Investigate Your Targets Once you’ve established what’s important to you, it’s time to see how your target companies fit with those values. Start with an online search into these companies. For instance, what’s the general online opinion about these companies? That said, don’t let a few bad comments turn you off, keeping in mind that you don’t know the context/situation in which these comments were written. It’s also a good idea to follow your companies of interest on social media to see what they’re posting.

Now it’s time to ask for informational interviews by reaching out to former and current employees and clients. The informational interview will help to shed light on whether or not you see yourself fitting in with this company and enjoying working for/with them. Also be sure to ask the people you interview if there is anyone else you should reach out to for more information. From what you glean from these interviews you’ll be able to narrow down your search to include only those companies that best fit with your values. When you get an interview with any of these companies, you’ll be able to use the information you’ve collected to impress them with how much you know about their company and have more relevant questions to ask when they ask if you have anything further you’d like to know.

Opportunities are likely to arise outside of your typical job search, i.e. recruiters are going to reach out to you.

Diligence in responding to and questioning the offers into your inbox is also an excellent way to reduce the risk of falling prey to bogus offers. Recruiters and managers should be able to answer and give evidence to your questions. If not, it is likely a sign that this isn’t the right job for you.