Strategies to Research Prospective Employers

BusinessWeek’s Liz Ryan has outlined nine ways to research prospective employers when you’re on the job hunt. While some of her suggestions are the same common sense moves you already know, she does list some lesser known resources and intriguing strategies. Here are her best hints:

Build Your Dossier: Business information sites like ZoomInfo.com, Hoover’s, and BusinessWeek’s Company Insight Center will add breadth to your research. Targeting public companies? The EDGAR database is packed with filings, forms, and comment letters on public firms.

Get the Dish: The user-generated-content site Glassdoor.com is packed with insider information on 30,000 companies, including actual salary figures (reported by the worker bees themselves) by function and location, interview questions used by specific employers, details on the hiring process, and tons more.

Get on the Network: Post a question on social media sitesto ask users about companies you’re looking at, and to make contact with people who have worked for those employers in the past and can speak freely with you about them.

Soak Up the Ambiance: When you’re scheduled for an interview, arrive early – really early, 30 minutes ahead of schedule- and say this to the receptionist: “I’ve got an interview at 2 p.m., but I got lucky with traffic and got here way ahead of time. Then sit in the office, watching the foot traffic and listening to the conversation among employees and vendors coming and going. This is a great way to get a feel for a business.

Call in Your Posse: Send a blast e-mail message to your friends and colleagues (bcc:ing everyone) and ask them whom they know at XYZ Corp., past or present. Ask for a culture-related story or two¿incidents that illustrate the way things get done in the shop, the way decisions get made, the way people are praised or corrected, and the level of respect (if any) in the environment.

Don Willmott

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