You have a job offer in the bag for a position you want, but there’s one big hang-up: You’re not so sure about the company.
Nearly half of people looking for a new job are motivated mainly by company culture, according to recruiting company Hays. So you’re not alone in prioritizing “fit” for your next position.
Here’s how to vet your potential new employer before you sign on the dotted line.
How to vet a company before accepting a new job
Hopefully you did your homework before hitting send on your job application. But if your instincts are telling you to review a company a second time, use these five methods to find out if there’s evidence to support your gut feeling.
1. Follow up with your hiring manager
If you’ve had job interviews in the past, you know that you’re typically given a few minutes at the end to pose your own questions. Now that you’re further along in the process, reconnect with the hiring manager and ask for more time to fire away.
You might already have a handle on the department you’d be joining, so use this time to ask broader questions about the company. You could learn more about its mission and your manager’s vision for your team’s future, for example.
If you don’t believe in the company’s direction or your prospective manager’s plan for your team, that could be a red flag. But if the responses put you at ease, move on to the next step.
2. Speak with potential co-workers
A company’s careers page often will tell you about the perks it offers employees. You might even see social media links pointing to smiling faces at company outings.
To ensure there’s no trouble in paradise, arrange conversations with other employees.
Try to match some of your concerns with questions you ask your potential co-workers. Here are some examples:
- If you’re concerned about the demands of working at a startup, ask an employee about their schedule.
- If you’re concerned about how friendly your colleagues would be, ask an employee if they ever hang out with their co-workers.
- If you’re concerned about your job description ballooning to include undesirable duties, ask an employee if “stuff” is known to roll downhill.
If you don’t have specific concerns and are just fishing for potential problems, ask the employee about how their values line up with the company’s. You might discover that the company lives (or doesn’t live) up to its values by talking to someone with firsthand knowledge.
Try to arrange your meetup outside the office. If you meet someone for coffee, for example, you’re more likely to catch them in an honest, forthcoming mood. Better yet, see if it’s possible to shadow an employee as they go about their day.
3. Do some recon on LinkedIn
If you’re uncomfortable asking your hiring manager to arrange a chat with another employee, you could fire off a LinkedIn message to someone in your network.
To do this, type the company name into LinkedIn’s search bar. You’ll land on its company profile page, which will tell you how many people work there, including your connections.
If you don’t have a connection there, make one. You could send a “cold” message to someone who works in the department you’d be joining.
You also could ask a mutual connection to introduce you. Find this person by clicking on the company’s list of employees and viewing your shared connections.
Beyond expanding your network, consider using LinkedIn’s search function to track the careers of employees who previously held your potential role.
I once turned down a job at a nonprofit, for example, because I learned that three different people had held the same title in the past two years. My instincts had told me burnout was likely with this position, and my LinkedIn research confirmed the hunch.
4. Look for warning signs on employer-review websites
Talking to current and former employees you find on LinkedIn can help calm your concerns.
But you also should check out an employer-review website like Glassdoor for a more holistic view. It boasts more than interview questions to study; it also has employee-written reviews of more than 600,000 companies.
This could be especially helpful if you’re considering joining a company with a long history and many employees. Say you’re a technologist considering a gig at IBM, for example. The company has been reviewed more than 34,000 times by its many current and former workers.
Use filters to ensure you’re looking at the most recent and useful reviews. Narrow your search results to reviews about specific office locations and from people holding specific job titles. For instance, about 700 of IBM’s reviews were posted by current, full-time software engineers working out of U.S. offices.
What you learn through research on Glassdoor or LinkedIn could lead to additional questions for your hiring manager.
5. Fill in the gaps by Googling
If you’ve made it this far without digging up dirt on your potential employer, you might already feel good about joining the team.
But if you want to be sure, fill in the gaps of your research by being an expert Google searcher. You’d be amazed by what you could find by searching for the name of a company next to an ominous word like “lawsuit” or “bankruptcy.”
Another trick that could be useful is to search related:web address (one example is related:google.com) to identify your potential employer’s competitors. You might find out what they have to say about the company.
Make sure you’re accepting a job you truly want
The initial phase of your job interview process was probably focused on you and what you could bring to the company as a new hire.
Toward the end of your interview process, flip the script and see what the company can offer you before you decide to accept a position. Once you’ve vetted the company online and offline, it’s time to ask yourself if this is the right job for you.
If this is your third or fourth job out of college, you should have the experience and self-awareness to know what kind of company is best for you.
If you’re still not sure, forget for a minute that you’re a job applicant. Ask yourself what you’d think about the company if you were a customer or an objective observer — and not someone receiving a salary from it. Then you might have your answer.
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.54% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of March 18, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 0318/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.5% effective February 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.54% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.54% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.67% – 8.96%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.23% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.69% – 7.43%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.98% – 9.72%6||Undergrad & Graduate|