Getting an interview is always exciting. The job description looked great, the pay is what you’re looking for and the location couldn’t be better. They claim they have a great company culture. You’re ready to take that job as soon as they offer it.
Not so fast.
A great job description, pay and location are all important factors but there’s something you need to do before you accept the offer. A reference check. That’s right, you need to do a reference check on the company and their company culture. They’ll tell you that they are a great place to work but getting an external opinion never hurts.
Think about it – A company typically won’t hire you without doing their research and making sure you fit into their company culture. Typically, a background check, reference checks and possibly even a drug test. If a company can do all of those steps before deciding to hire you, it only makes sense that you should also do your due diligence. Here are six ways you can do your own “reference check” on a company before taking that offer (or even going to an interview). If their company as well as their company culture is as great as they say, they should check out just fine. If not, you’ll have some great questions when you go to that interview.
This one is obvious but I’ve found that not everyone knows how to use this site appropriately. Some people see a couple of negative reviews and are immediately scared away, by the company. Make sure to weigh negative reviews against the positive ones. Not all positive reviews are true (plenty of companies ask their employees to write positive reviews) and not all negative ones are true either (people can have hard feelings if they were fired). You also need to look at the date of the reviews. If the negative ones are all from a few years ago, maybe the work condition has improved so it might be a good option. However, if all of the negative ones are recent, it might not be a great opportunity for you.
This review site is great to see how a customer facing business is perceived by the general public. If the bakery you’re interviewing at has a poor reputation, it might not be the best place for you to take a marketing job. On the other hand, you can use these reviews to better your chance at not just getting a job (if you want it). Imagine how impressed the bakery would be if you come prepared with a marketing plan to remedy their poor online image. The same goes for any position in almost any business that has a poor online presence.
How would you like to take a job only to find out the company has been accused of running scams? By checking a business’s BBB score you can see how many complaints against the business they are. It might be a good thing to discuss in the interview if you see anything that is concerning.
Facebook has a review system and a business wall that others can comment on. It’s worth the time to see how their reputation is on Facebook and if the business has a lot of negative reviews or posts.
LinkedIn is one of my favorite ways to scope out a business. You can see how many employees are linked to a business as well as how long they have been there. If most of the employees have been there a short time, they may have a high turnover rate. You can also search for past employees. Take a peek at some of their profiles and see how long they lasted there. If you can find people that have done your exact job, even better. Based on how long their profile says they were at a company gives you a good idea about the company’s attrition rate.
It also doesn’t hurt to message someone that has left the company and ask if they would share why they left. Think of it as doing a reference check on the company. LinkedIn is a great way to do this or even Facebook.
What are your tips for scoping out a business before you take an offer? Have you ever failed to do this and regretted it?