How To Do Background Research On Potential Employers
June 17, 2021
All companies do a background check on you when you apply in order to find out if you’d make a good fit in their company. You should do the same in order to find out if the companies you’re applying to align with your goals. In rare cases, you can find out about your recruiter to better tailor your answers. If a company has a mission statement that you don’t agree with, chances are you won’t fit in well at that company. On top of that, having more information during the interview makes you a more favorable candidate, as it shows your willingness to find answers for yourself.
Specific Information To Search For
Researching goes a lot faster when you have specific targets. Here is a list of information that will be useful to you as a potential applicant:
- What exactly does the company do?
- What is the company’s mission statement and overall goal?
- What industries does it cater to?
- What is the company’s history? (How did it start? How did it get to where it is today?)
- How big is the company?
- What is the structure of the company?
- Who are the department heads?
- What’s the financial status of the company?
- What does the employee compensation and benefit package consist of?
- What do other people say about the position/company I’m applying for?
- What does the competition of this company look like?
Of course you should add your own questions to your list. If you have a question that isn’t on this list and isn’t immediately answered by the job description, you should look for an answer, if you can’t find one make sure you ask it at the end of the interview.
Where To Find Information
If you’re having a tough time starting your search, start at the company’s website. If you’re applying for a BPO and have your screening interview, make sure you also look up the client’s company name so you can do research on them as well. The company website should actually answer a majority of the questions listed above.
Another good source of information are other websites that the company owns. You can usually find these websites linked around on the main website, the blog section is where you’re likely to find them, but they could be plainly posted on any related page.
Check out the social media platforms the company uses. These pages are usually advertised on the home page of their website or if you scroll all the way to the bottom they’re usually there. More and more companies are electing to have a presence on social media as it is a great way to reach a wider audience. Social media is also where employees, both former and current, talk about their experiences with said company/client.
Job search websites, such as the one you might have used to look for the job in question, always have a review or “Q & A” section. For example on Indeed.com, at the top there is a section for company reviews, you put the company in question in and then read up on what people are saying about the company. Note that you should look for all types of reviews, if all that’s posted is positive reviews, look for the negatives and vice versa if it’s all negative reviews.
After you’ve exhausted the company’s own sites and job sites, it’s time to take your search to Google. Check if the company has made the news anywhere else. This is where you’ll likely find any red flags if there are any. If they show up in local media for a less than reputable reason, chances are that there are problems within the company.
Lastly, asking around your circle of friends and even extending it out to their friends, is a great way to learn more. Someone may have experience with said company and can give you insightful feedback. Make sure to take these word of mouth reviews carefully. Disgruntled former employees can give very one sided information and reversely, employees that are invested in the company can omit certain details you might need to know.
Analyze And Organize Your Research
In order to get the most out of the information you’ve found it is important to comb through your findings and see which pieces of information will benefit you the most. Organizing your information and putting it into groups that help you keep track of what information is important goes a long way when searching for anything to help you during the interview process. As stated before, overly positive or negative reviews should be taken lightly unless there is proof that backs it up. Think of this as researching a paper you’re writing for school, get your information for reputable sources. If you can validate a source it’s safe to assume that the information is credible.
Using The Information
While not a step in how to do a background check on a potential employer, it is important to know what to do with the information. The biggest tip here is to use the information strategically. You need to leverage the information to highlight the skills you have that will benefit the company, how you can help them achieve their goals/mission, and relate it to how being part of the company will benefit you as well. If you found negatives about the company and decided to proceed, don’t focus on them. If you really need an answer to a question regarding a negative experience a former employee had, reach out to that employee. Lastly, you should have come up with questions during your research that were left unanswered, if they’re related to the job, make sure you ask them when the recruiter asks if you have any questions.