How to research a potential employer

CV guru Emma Alkirwi has some advice on how to start researching an employer you are looking to apply to.

 

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When searching for a new job, taking the time to research a potential employer is an important step in the process.

Whether you’re making a career change, seeking a specific role, or have your sights on a particular employer, you need to understand not only whether you are a good fit for the company, but also what it will be like to work there. They have to be the right fit for your needs too!

If it’s been a while since you were last job hunting, you might not know where to start. Here are some top tips to effectively research your potential employer:

Find out why the position is available

It is important to find out why the position is available at the company. During the application process, or perhaps using contacts you have at the company, discreetly find out how the position opened up:

  • Is it a newly created role?
  • Was the previous person promoted?
  • Did the former employee retire?
  • Or did they leave for another reason?

If the role has been newly created this may give an insight into how the company is growing. However, if the person left this position it may be helpful to tailor your questions to the hiring manager, asking something like: “What do you believe the main challenges of the role are?” or “How long was that person in the role for?”

You may find out the former employee has retired or was promoted. Regardless, all of this will give you an insight into staff turnover, possible culture and internal advancement opportunities.

Examine their contracts and benefits

Depending on your circumstances, different things will be important to you – whether that is flexible working, hybrid working, or salary.

Software company CIPHR found that the most important benefits for employees right now are paid sick leave, flexible working hours, and pension contribution matching.

Think about the core expectations and professional needs you have for your next job and create a list you can refer to while job searching.

Here are some things you may wish to consider:

  • Annual leave
  • Remote/flexible working opportunities
  • Bonuses structures
  • Share schemes
  • Parental leave

Most of this information will be available within the job listing, on the company website, or in employee reviews. This kind of research can give you a better idea of what questions you should be asking when you reach the interview stage.

Read employee reviews

If you don’t know anyone who currently works at the company you’re researching, there are plenty of resources online where you can read employee reviews, such as Glassdoor. This is an essential step when figuring out what companies you would like to work for, as it’s where honest opinions will be found. From these reviews, you will hopefully learn the pros and cons of a specific role or employer and an insight into their culture, benefits, salary, and more.

Make sure opinions are recent and relevant to the position, department or location that you’re interested in. Don’t base your decision on reviews that are coming from halfway across the world in an unrelated division of the company.

You should also keep in mind that any wholly negative reviews may not be written with the right intentions. These could come from a former employee who wants to deliberately harm the company’s ability to attract good candidates. Try and find balanced reviews over ones that are totally positive or totally negative – they are likely to be the most genuine.

Understand their values

Indeed has found that over 40% of job candidates are interested in “meaningful work” when it comes to their job search. It is becoming more important for jobseekers to find companies that share their values, whether it’s employee development, social impact, diversity and inclusion or sustainability.

You should think about the values that are important to you, to ensure that prospective employers align with them early in the application process.

Most companies will highlight their values on the ‘About’ or ‘Our Mission’ pages of their website, but there are other places you can go for a deeper insight. Many employers use social media to promote sustainability initiatives or to show the ways that they give back to their community, so you should have a look at their channels.

The more information you gather about an employer, the more you can tailor your CV and application to the position and demonstrate why you’re the ideal candidate. You can also ensure you are only applying for positions with employers that suit your values, the culture you want to work in, and your long-term professional goals.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services.  The CV Guru offers job application bundles, including a bespoke CV, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Profile expertly tailored to the role you want. You can browse their Bundles here.



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