No matter how excited you are at the prospect of buying a new home or car, you wouldn’t make either purchase without doing some homework first, right? You would compare home prices in an area, and research all the features of the car before committing to buy. Why then, would you ever consider accepting a job offer before performing due diligence on the company you’ll be working for? Yet too many job-seekers do exactly that.
You may think understanding the duties of the job and the skills required is sufficient to ensure long-term success and satisfaction, but that’s just not so. You also need to understand the culture, history and prospects of the company, and the professional style and history of your managers. GetFive’s career coaches consistently hear from job seekers that, had they known more about the company they just left, they would have never accepted that job in the first place. Doing your due diligence before accepting a job offer can mean less chance of experiencing regret down the road.
Here are the steps our career coaches recommend you take before agreeing to any job offer:
• Speak with as many people who work for the company as you can. Multiple interviews will almost certainly precede a job offer. Take the opportunity to talk to your potential peers, the boss of the person you’ll report to, employees in other departments, the people who will report to you, etc.
• Leverage social media to learn more about the boss and other employees you’ll be working with. Look up employee’s LinkedIn accounts and check out their resumes. Review their work history and experience for signs you’ll mesh well with each other or that you share similar experiences.
• Look up the company. A simple Google search should yield ample information on the company’s history, its current financial status, and prospects for growth. An astonishing number of people fail to do this — in fact, it’s surprising that anyone wouldn’t do this!
• Check references. Obviously, you can’t ask your future boss for his or her references, but you can look up professional connections and ask about their experiences. Again, LinkedIn can be valuable because you’ll be able to see what skills others have endorsed in your future supervisor.
If you’ve done all these steps, you need to take one more. Take a quiet moment to sit down and ask yourself these questions:
• Did I spend enough time with my future boss to get a sense of who he/she is as a person and a manager?
• Did I get to meet my peers, the people I’ll be working with on a daily basis, and my manager’s boss?
• Have I met with all my potential subordinates?
• Have I talked with everyone outside my department who will be key to my success?
• Did I talk to people who used to work for the company?
• If I’ll be working with outside clients, did I talk to any of them?
Accepting a job offer is one of the most important commitments you’ll make in your life. In fact, your job affects your professional development and even your personal life in multiple ways. It’s a decision that’s far too important to allow yourself to be driven by desperation (if you’ve been out of work for a while), over-eagerness (if it looks like your dream job) or greed (if you can’t believe how much they’re willing to pay you). Before you say “yea” or “nay,” perform your due diligence.