Face it: Most people are changing jobs more often than ever before. Some by choice, many against their wills. Average tenures, even at executive levels, are running 18 to 36 months. This steady-state churn means you are likely to be conducting many job searches in your lifetime and contemplating many new employers. If you are in your early 50’s and want to work 10 more years and then retire, expect to work with three employers during that time period. If you are a twenty-something millennial, it would be reasonable to expect to work for 12 or more employers if you intend to have a “corporate career.”
Your decision (however well intended) to go to work for a rotten boss or employer may result in you being back on the street in short order, with a black eye on your resume which you must explain. Conversely, your decision to go to work for a great boss or employer could provide you fabulous personal/income opportunities and a wonderful work environment in which you thrive and are deliriously happy.
Most job seekers and career changers I meet, and I meet a lot of them every month, either don’t have the tools to evaluate prospective employers properly or they are simply careless. I can relate. When I was corporate job searching earlier in my career, I would do my best to evaluate the new boss and company culture throughout the interview process. Having an engineering background, my powers of perception were… how can I say this politely and not alienate my engineer friends?… limited.
When the internet came along, I would pore over the company’s web site (propaganda?), review their financials (if available) at finance.yahoo.com, and search for articles (hit and miss) about them. Then, armed with far too little information to make a well informed important life decision, I would throw myself over the cliff and into the new work situation with blind faith or eternally-springing hope. Sometimes it did, sometimes it didn’t. Sound like anybody you know?
So, how could I have made and how can you make a more informed decision regarding future bosses and employers? Are you going to read the types of information I mentioned and stop there, drawing conclusions that are a reflection of your own biases and eternally-springing hopes? (the mirror option). Or, are you going to go further and look past the reflecting mirror by leveraging the experiences of others who have gone before you? The latter approach, which I recommend you use to supplement your own independent research, is what one smart company terms the glass door. At glassdoor.com, you can gain the views and opinions of people who work within the company and those who have interviewed there previously.
A recent study by Software Advice titled How Job Seekers Use Glassdoor Reviews revealed many interesting facts from the respondents: approximately half of the people surveyed use glassdoor.com during their job searches and the majority of those tend to use it earlier in their searches to identify top employers. The information most important to them was compensation and benefits, followed next by work/life balance.
Of the many other potential sources of information available to you, for brevity I want to share one more: LinkedIn. I have been an avid LinkedIn user for over 10 years and have over 8,000 contacts. As I mention in Chapter 13 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!), one of the most important questions you should ask yourself is “How can I leverage LinkedIn to improve my career networking results?” One answer is that you can leverage advanced people searches to find people inside and outside prospective employers, contact them, and get their opinions about bosses and companies before you decide to join them.
I hope I have stimulated you to be more diligent in your research of prospective employers and bosses… and have provided some useful ideas that will help you accomplish this. If so, my work here is done. Best wishes for your career success!