Background check is a two-way street
Most people experience one or more background check process in their life. It can be annoying or neutral but the company’s aim is every time to learn more about candidates. This is understandable, so the fact that candidates also would like to have a preview of the company before joining.
I would like to provide 7 tips/tricks to you to have the most information about a company leading to a decision whether you apply or not.
Before going into any details, I must declare that any company, being not suitable to your needs, isn’t necessarily a toxic environment. It is just different than your expectations so you might want to belong to another (where you can perform the best or fulfill your dreams).
Networking: the most obvious way is to ask your connection who works at the target company. They know the internal life, management, opportunities, etc. They will be your best source to get to know the company but don’t forget we are all different. Try to discuss as many aspects as possible for a well-founded decision.
Linkedin: Linkedin is a powerful tool. You can see company updates and its staff as well. Click on each of the team members to see how long they have been working there. Do you still have some spare time? See even previous employees too, this might tell a lot about the fluctuation.
Company website and social media: there is definitely a chance that you will find a lot of “typical” marketing material but I still believe this is one of the best ways to see people, company culture, way of thinking and learn what drives the whole organization. Sometimes even the fact that a company has a great career site or a well-designed Instagram page, can tell that the company cares! Even better if you find a friendly blog, a youtube channel, or party pictures. Get creative in your investigation!
Glassdoor reviews: the more reviews the best. Only a few reviews are just not enough to see clearly. You can filter to departments, good or complaining comments, and even location. Look for repeating issues but stay objective. Some employee leaves the company with anger but if you see a recurring issue, that can really mean something. Glassdoor shows salary levels preparing you for a salary negotiation(!) Common issues according to my observation: lack of career path, bad management, politics.
Interview: I always encourage candidates to ask questions. If you don’t see the whole picture, have some doubts just communicate (in a proper way). Most recruiters are happy to answer and believe it or not we would like to find the most suitable person so our aim is common. Questions like “What kind of people feel good here?” / “What makes someone successful here?” / “Why do you like to work here?” will lead you to an informative conversation.
Repeating open roles: do you see the same (niche) role open like 3–4 times a year? This is not necessarily decisive but if this is not a reasonably occurring role, something might be just wrong. Better to ask the recruiter about the former employee, reasons of leaving, or challenges in that role.
Intuition: Till you get to an offer you probably go through some interviews and investigation. In all stages, you surely have an intuition and I encourage you to listen to it. I cannot stress enough that people should listen to their inner voice.
Sounds like a cliche but your workplace is where you spend most of your daily life. Everyone would like to pick the best or most suitable one. Our needs are different. What is great for someone can be awful for the other but using these tricks will help you make a good decision.
It’s not a recipe, I personally believe that everyone should listen to their intuition first of all and prepare for an interview with the right questions to learn the most details possible. If you do so, I think you can minimize bad surprises.