I know in today's economic climate how tempting it can be to take advantage of any job offer that comes your way. Many career opportunities look great on paper and at times, out of sheer desperation to be among the employed, you tend to view these opportunities through rose-colored glasses.
You may be tempted to gloss over little things like the fact that accepting this offer means you may incur an hour-plus daily commute one way. You tell yourself things like, "I'll get used to it," or, "Hey, that will be a great way to catch up on some books on tape. I can use that time to enjoy my coffee and some daily news before work."
As wonderful as all of that may sound, no one in their right mind gets excited about two, one-hour excursions a day creeping along at 22 mph across the same stretch of road that thousands of others are using to catch up on the daily news and their "relaxing" cup of coffee before work.
I am not suggesting that you decline jobs that may require a lengthy commute. I am only using this as one of the examples of things that may not seem too bad at first, but could end up being a reason to hate your new position.
Conduct A Gumshoe Investigation
Fortunately, we all live in a world where technology has given us the ability to research almost anything before agreeing to be a part of it. There is an almost unlimited supply of information on things we are planning to buy, places we are planning to visit, and employers for which we are considering working.
However, you must always keep in mind that many of these reviews are written by self-proclaimed 'experts,' so be discerning with your research and understand that personal opinion may not always be fact-based. So, in addition to whatever information you glean from online resources, also do yourself a favor by conducting an old-fashioned gumshoe investigation.
1. It may sound counterintuitive, but FIRST go online and find the name of a real-life someone; a good place to start is Facebook, by way of Glassdoor's new "Inside Connections" tool.
2. For example, if I wanted to know more about Microsoft's culture, Inside Connections shows I have 198 connections within Microsoft through my Facebook account. From there, I can start connecting further to a person with an inside opinion about the organization's culture, operation and reputation.
3. Tap into YOUR 'Inside Connections' and stir live conversations
with current or former employees, recruiters, consultants and others who are connected to your company of choice. All you have to do is sign in to Glassdoor via Facebook
, and voila, a quick snapshot shows how many Inside Connections you have and with how many unique companies. Folks who may be connected to your target company might currently work there, or they may have a past
history of employment. Don't dismiss past employees, as they may offer the purest perspective on why they loved working there, or perhaps why they didn't like it so much and thus, left!
4. Ask employees for an honest assessment. Let them know you want to know the good, the bad and the ugly. Ask that they not sugarcoat any aspect of the job. Of course, the best source for this information is someone who has no vested interest in whether or not you accept the position, for obvious reasons.
5. Ask around and find someone who may be a client of the company in question. Many times, a past customer can provide a unique perspective and give you some real insight on how the company operates. Most of us would agree that working for a company with a good reputation among its clients has a number of rewarding points.
6. Another way of getting some inside scoop is to actually visit the company you are considering before going in for an interview. Look for little things that could make a difference over the long haul. What are the employee parking facilities like? I know this may seem petty, but if you accept this position, you may like to know that employee parking doesn't require a four-wheel drive vehicle to navigate or a separate commute to your office from the lot.
7. During your visit, you may also want to take note of the lunchroom facilities. Are they clean? Is there a refrigerator? Microwave? Sink with hot and cold running water? Keep in mind, this is where you will spend at least 30 minutes of your day during your tenure there.
8. Restrooms, employee attire and attitude, individual workstations or offices, tidiness, ergonomics and any other points that may be of special interest to you should be looked into during your visit.
Remember, a little due diligence in this arena will go a long way toward making certain you don't find yourself back in the job market before you pick up your first paycheck.
The one thing none of us can recover is wasted time. And wasting time in a position you grow to detest is no way to live.