“Will you marry me?” may be the most important question you’ll answer in a lifetime, but the second-most important is one you’ll have to answer again and again throughout your career: “We’d like to offer you the position, will you accept?”. Before you say yes to either question, it’s important to know if saying “Yes!” is right for you. While I can’t begin to guess if the potential spouse is a good match, I can give you a few ways to judge a future employer.
How can you know if a company is a good fit for you?
Look at their elevator pitch. Read the website and other publications put out by the company and look for items like mission statement, values, and other clues to corporate purpose and values. The public face of the company should reflect what you saw once you arrived for your interviews.
Watch their employees. When you’re in the parking lot, waiting to be interviewed, or in your passage through the building to meet various hiring influencers, what do you see? Are the associates happy and busy? Are they open and friendly toward management? Do they seem like a team or family? If not, you may want to dig further into what it’s like to work there.
Research the stability and success of the business. Take a look back at the stock performance if they’re publically held, and read articles in trustworthy business publications. Is there any indication of struggle or weakness? If you’re being brought in to improve things, you know there’s a risk, but you don’t want to have instability come as a surprise once you’re committed.
Network. What have your connections experienced or heard about the company? Have they enjoyed working there, or have they heard it’s a hostile environment? This is one of the many valuable ways a strong network can benefit your career, so build your own grapevine to capture all the news that’s never printed!
Online research. Delve into sites like GlassDoor.com, or GreatPlaceToWork.com where employees or past employees rate, evaluate, and dish the dirt about the company you’re considering. Take the information there with caution, after all, some of the reviewers have been terminated, so they’re not writing about the organization with journalistic neutrality. But it’s good to get a feel for the best and worst things people say about the company you’re thinking of joining.