Assessing Potential Employers

The Insider's Guide To Job Search

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Assessing Potential Employers
To be  published  in The Flightpath News - Week of March 09, 2003
Assessing Potential Employers

You liked the sound of the advertisement and you have the skills for the job, so what will it be like to work there?

Be aware of potential warning signals that this employer may not be the best one to join. You need to gather impressions and assess relevant information to make an informed decision. Your research needs to begin before you ever set foot in the interviewer’s office.

Here is a general list of issues you can investigate through the web or through a reference library prior to an interview. Privately held firms may not make this type of information publicly accessible. Go to your local Reference Library and review the appropriate Scott’s Industrial Directory for many useful details on the firm's products and history. On-line try for researching individual companies and target industries.

Before The Interview

If they are a publicly traded firm, how is their stock doing?

How have their earnings been in the past 2 to 3 fiscal quarters?

What is their reputation for quality and customer service?

What is their size, number of employees and is there an annual report available for review?

How long have they been in business?

What growth or expansion have they experienced in the last 2-3 years?

Arriving for the Interview:

How do employees interact with each other -- smiling, neutral or grim?

Do they have interesting sales literature or an employee-supported newsletter?

Do they have awards, employee recognition plaques or community service citations in the lobby?

Are you treated with a lack of courtesy by the receptionist or the hiring manager’s assistant?

If the hiring manager is late to meet you, does the staff know where he/she is?

During the Interview:

If the hiring manager/interviewer late for the meeting, does he or she apologize?

Does the interviewer greet you with a friendly handshake and make eye contact?

Are you given a copy of the position description?

Does the interviewer speak in derogatory terms about the last person in the job?

Does it appear that the company has had a high turnover in this position?

Does the interviewer make negative remarks about fellow managers or superiors?

Do they have a good training program for their employees?

Does the interviewer pay attention to you or is he/she distracted by calls and visitors?

Are you interrupted during your responses or are you rushed for answers?

Are they vague about salary, review dates and/or company benefits?

After the Interview:

Do they invite you to call back if you have any questions?

Do they change the figures or salary range in follow up discussions?

Are you left without a clear idea of when a decision is to be made?

What are their attitudes towards negotiating specific issues?

The way you are treated before, during and after the initial interview may indicate how you will be treated as an employee. Notice how your questions and concerns are handled. Are the answers clear and your concerns dealt with satisfactorily? Do you get the feeling that you are one in a long line of applicants or do they seem genuinely interested in what you have to say and offer?

Companies that value the skills of their employees are inclined to pay for job-specific educational courses, usually reimbursing employees upon successful completion of the program. What is their attitude towards career development training?

Listen to your intuition. Do the views and attitudes expressed by the interviewer sit well with you? Can you see yourself working there?

The more you observe the small impressions that come in through the interviewing process, the better equipped you will be to make a sound decision based both on the facts that you have obtained and your feelings about the people you have met.

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