When entering the job market, even during difficult times, it’s important to vet prospective employers. This habit is second nature to many of us–we hit a company’s Glassdoor page when we see they’re hiring, browse their site for a bit, and fire off an application.
But how can you truly evaluate a company’s commitment to their team? What are some surefire signs that a company is treating their employees with care and respect? And can we get that in a Top Ten style list for easy perusal? OF COURSE! Here are a few key ways to evaluate a company’s commitment to their employees…
When you hit the company’s site, check out how they present their team. Do they have bios/pics for all of their employees? Are they exclusively showcasing their Executive team? A company that only highlights their leadership team might be signaling who gets recognized within the organization in general.
A mission statement should be featured prominently, and it should be more than a pie-in-the-sky ideal. This should be a mission you can anchor yourself to on a daily basis while working there. Ask yourself if you jive with their values.
Keep an eye on how much digging you have to do to find a mission/values statement. If it’s buried under a ton of client testimonials and sales material rather than front and center, it likely signals the lack of importance it has to both prospective teammates and clients.
Glassdoor reviews are important, and I won’t take up space telling you to check them out. My advice is to not immediately go for the 5-star or 1-star reviews. First go to the 3 star reviews to see what the average sentiment is.
Also, don’t forget to check the dates on the reviews– sort by most recent. If the reviews are over a year old, it’s possible that the management team changed since then. A lot changes in a year.
Further, check out the employer’s response to these reviews. If they’re negative reviews, is the company open to further communication? Do they offer a way for the employee to get in touch so they can gain more info on how they can improve? Not everyone can have a great experience at every employer, but if a company is open to feedback it’s a great sign that they are committed to the employee experience!
While on Glassdoor, don’t forget to check out some of the interview reviews! You might learn a lot about how the interview process works and what you can expect from the company before you even apply.
Any awards a company has received are great, but keep an eye out for your particular needs; whether that’s “Best Remote Companies” or “Best workplaces for women.” Also make sure that you’re checking how the lists/awards are given. The best awards are usually based on anonymous survey data and provide a 3rd party confirmation of a company’s dedication to employees. (Check out our blog post on Seer’s “Top Workplace of 2020” Award!)
Checking that a company places importance on giving back to the community it’s a sure sign of the company’s commitment to the people that they affect. All giving is great, but not all giving is created equal.
If they are giving back, it’s a great sign that they are empathetic and act in a meaningful way. Dig in a bit deeper into how they give back. Is it just at the company-level (e.g. writing a check) or do they encourage involvement at the individual level?
If their industry adversely affects certain individuals, check out how they pay it forward.– like Seer partnering with ThinkDignity for Seerfest because our new San Diego office building affected people experiencing homelessness. You can extrapolate the company’s commitment to their own people by examining their commitment to folks in the communities that they work and serve.
If you can’t find info related to this on the company’s site, be sure to ask about it in the interview process. And we’re not talking about ping pong tables, a beer fridge (although you can judge their taste in IPAs), or free lunches. While these are nice to have, they don’t speak to the company’s commitment to your growth.
Skip these perks and find out about the important stuff: check for initiatives that support your personal improvement. Do they offer a budget for personal development? Do they offer Parental Leave or Education Reimbursement? These are career-oriented perks that will have a lasting impact on your overall fulfillment at work. All good signs!
So you did some research, sent in your application and you’ve been invited to interview with your dream company. AWESOME! Don’t make the mistake of ending your research here though– you should continue to do your due diligence on the employer, just as the company will continue to vet you and any other candidates for the job.
Red flags discovered in the interview process likely will not go away. This could be a post of its own, but here’s a quick list of some things to watch out for:
How you’re treated in an application/interview process is a sure sign of the priority the company places on their people. Do they allow you to communicate with folks outside of the immediate interview process? Keep an eye on things like communication style & frequency and access to the team. Here’s a quick list of what to watch for:
- The level of transparency and communication throughout the process. Do they provide feedback? Are they responsive when you reach out? Are there long gaps in hearing back if you follow up? A lack of clarity or communication can be a warning of a lack of commitment to their people.
- Updates they are sharing: Are they telling you what’s next in the interview process? Have they set expectations with you regarding the interview process or do they leave you on Read? Do they have their “stuff” together? If not, they probably won’t have it together when you start the job either.
- Access to the team: If you ask to speak with other team members, are they willing to intro you to anyone outside of the interviewers? Are they hiding the rest of the team from you, even after you asked? That’s a sure sign that there’s something amiss.
Tours are more than a chance to see what snacks are stocked and pet some office pups (although that’s cool too, and a place without Sour Patch Kids is out of the question!). This is your chance to look behind the curtain. In fact, this is probably one of the only times you’ll be in the office while not an employee there (weird right?!) So make sure you do some snooping!
Keep an eye out for some of the following while you’re there and you’ll leave the building with a much better idea of what you’re getting into:
- Scope out the general layout: Do all execs sit on one floor? Are there closed-door offices that the tour guide is shuffling by swiftly?
- Feel the vibes: Are people heads down? Are there interactions between teammates? Are people helping each other out? Check out people’s body language/demeanor.
- Take notice: What do they point out to you during the office tour, these are the things that matter to them most
One caveat to this: take into account the time of day that you’re visiting the office. Nobody really gets it poppin’ at 8am (unless it’s to get a quick hour in on Animal Crossing). But, being there at off hours lets you scope out the typical schedule the company keeps. If they have flex time, is everyone already glued to their desk at 9am or are people trickling in at their leisure? If your interview ends after 5pm, is the parking lot still full when you leave?
Let’s face it, an interview process can be daunting. Of course you want to put your best foot forward and leave a great impression. But that doesn’t mean that you should stop learning about the company and gauging the opportunity’s fit for you.
Asking interviewers about the negative side of things can reveal a lot about the company. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable about moving forward, it will show them that you are considering this opportunity critically. Some questions you might ask an interviewer:
- Talk to me about the most turbulent period you’ve worked through here and how it was handled by leadership.
- Tell me about the most stressful day you’ve experienced on the job.
- Tell me about a time you made a mistake and how leadership handled it.
- If someone is failing to make the cut, what resources are available?
- What % of people were promoted and what % of LT is from within?
While it can be difficult to ask these questions, it’s important to realize that this may be the only chance you have to get these answers before you’re on the job. To avoid any unwanted surprises down the line, make sure you ask tough questions in the interview process!
Now that you’ve had a behind-the-scenes look at the office, check out what they’re sharing on social media channels. A company that encourages employees to share their experience is also recognizing the cool stuff that their employees are doing. You may want to dig a bit deeper and see keep an eye out for some of the following:
- Are they sharing thought leadership through blogs, articles, or YouTube videos?
- Is the Founder or CEO of the company on social media? What are they sharing?
- What is being shown in their posts? Are they highlighting employees of all levels, and allowing for diverse viewpoints to be shared?
- Who is engaging with the posts? Are other employees engaging with it? Are they letting employees have a voice or is it all professional photos?
It’s great if you know someone at the company, but that’s not always the case. You can still see if you have 2nd degree connections with any one at the company and see what connection you have in common. If you do reach out to these folks, I recommend following some of these tips:
- Lead with direct, specific questions. For instance, ask “Do you see yourself still working here in a year?” and probe for details, rather than asking something vague like: “Do you like it there?”
- Leverage this connection almost like a company referral, maybe they can intro you to the hiring manager or someone who would be working laterally to you.
- If you’re reaching out cold, with no connection in common, find a common thread to reference in your outreach. Did you and someone on the team go to the same college? Maybe you worked at the same company previously? Reaching out and referencing that will get a better response than a quid pro quo outreach that is focused solely on job opportunities.
Now that you have a better understanding of the company’s commitment to its employees, not only can you better evaluate their fit for you, you can also reference your findings in a cover letter or even in an interview!
Show your enthusiasm and genuine interest in joining a company by bringing up some of the cool stuff you found while researching their commitment to employees! This will let you connect to the interviewer/recruiter and get beyond the high level questions to find out more about what the company has to offer you.
Have tips for researching a company’s commitment to employees? Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear ‘em! For more tips on how to handle the job seeking process, check out our other blog posts here.
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