Before Accepting a Job Offer: How to Background Check Your New
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By Dorcas Karuana,
Ever started a new job then you figure out that the employer painted a different picture than the reality during the interviews?
Put yourself for a minute in the shoes of this job seeker who made a career move that he regrets.
“I recently interviewed with a renowned company in finance technology for a position in a new department. During the interviews, I was promised career growth, proper compensation and benefits and work life balance in this company which was growing to be a billion dollar company. After salary negotiations, I was given an offer letter and accepted the job, though I had other two offers with small medium sized companies.
Upon joining, the first one week revealed many things. First, the company did not offer a constructive environment as it had no structures and the working resources took 2 weeks to be provided. The manager I was reporting to was destructive in 75% of his comments/actions, and would tell us, to either swim and survive or sink. Worse, the company has a turnover of 30% of employees leaving the organization every month. Majority of the workforce suffer from high blood pressure due to the existing pressure on meeting targets. Additionally, salaries are delayed as late as 15th of the month. I strongly feel I have made a wrong choice to join the company and I REGERT this.
Please advise me what to do and help other job seekers not to be in same trap.”
This is a mistake that could have been avoided by researching the company and its employees before accepting a job offer. However, many people only research on what is asked during the interview process, like products and services, mission, strategic direction, competitors, core values, and CSR etc.
Conducting your own research on the company can help you avoid making a wrong career move.
Just like 70% of companies conduct a background check on any new employees, why can’t you the candidate do the same? I am not saying during the interview you pull out a background release form and ask your employer to fill it out and sign it but do it informally using websites we have available to us to do a little digging into the company’s reputation, stability, etc.
There are many resources (free and pay) available to help avoid the above situation. These include:
1. Employer reviews sites e.g glassdoor.com
glassdoor.com is a very popular employment website, that has internal (and previous) employees reviews of a company. Now obviously we all know there are two sides to every story and not everything we read is 100% accurate but it is a good way to conduct further investigation into one of the most important decisions you will make and usually where there is smoke there is fire.
2. Social Media
Social Media is another research tool. Look up the company name to check out their company Linked In, Facebook or Twitter pages? How about the manager that you will be working for? The photos can offer some serious intel into the day-to-day happenings of its office. It can also show a snapshot your managers personal life but it can show you if you have similar tastes or hobbies or nothing in common at all.
3. Linked In – former and current employees
Most candidates do a little digging on the company or manager they are interviewing with but doing a quick advanced Linked In search on current and former employees under a company name will tell you a lot about the employee’s stability and advancement. This could also indicate if this is a manager you want to hitch your wagon to… has he/she repeatedly risen through the ranks of the companies they have worked for, are they new to the company, what kind of job history do they have… all good information to know. If he/she has just joined the company and it doesn’t work out what happens to the employees that they hired or conversely have they been with the company a long time and have been promoted will this lead to advancement opportunities with the employees that work for them?
4. Professional background services
There are companies like Peleza Services that offer background screening on employers and employees at a fee. You can ask them to run a search on a company name that you are interviewing with and see how many current employees’ CVs are listed; this may indicate ongoing issues with the company or management and may not be a place you will be happy with.
5. Company financials
If the company is publicly held, check out the latest annual report for year-over-year financial trends, issues the company is facing, the competitive strategy, and the strategic, operational and financial goals.
While in life we can never be 100% sure of a choice we make and how it will work out we can do our own research to help eliminate some of those mistakes. Conducting your own research can help you decide if that company is the place where you want to spend the next several years of your career – and this shouldn’t be a decision you take lightly.