5 Overlooked Resources Candidates Can Use to Research Employers

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Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question on jobs data you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A!

Today’s Question: Hiring and recruiting experts are always telling candidates to research potential employers before applying. Aside from company websites, what are the best resources for carrying out this research? Where should candidates look for valuable information on prospective employers?

elissa1. Talk to a Near-Peer

Talk to a near-peer (would-be peer or one-level above) at the company. Find these near-peers by asking social network connection for names and introductions. You can also look on LinkedIn for titles and connect, or find names on company websites and send cold emails asking for conversations “to learn more about their work” – not “about a job.”

Ask near-peers questions about the company or culture with no obvious right answers like “How does conflict get resolved in meetings, if at all?” or “What’s the energy like on Friday night at 5 p.m.? Are people packing up to leave, or is it still buzzing?”

Elissa Kuykendall, ArcVida  

geoff2. Get on Google, But Be Smart About It

Google has some nice, easy-to-use functions that many people don’t know about. For instance, using quotation marks around keywords generates a list of results that only include those exact words in the exact order you typed them out. This is a great way to cut out
some of the riffraff that’s unavoidable on the internet.

You can also try the following:

“site:targetcompany.com charity'”

This allows you to only search through your target company’s website, in this case for specific instances of the word “charity.” Using this strategy will help you find the precise information you need without wasting too much time.

Geoff Scott, Resume Companion 

jayne3. Social Media Is Good for More Than Just PR

Social media gives a job seeker insight into what the company’s culture appears to be, which has replaced mission statements that were just that – statements. It will impress the interviewer to know that you have done your due diligence by looking at the company’s social media sites. Make sure you validate your perception by asking great thought-provoking questions during the interview.

Looking at the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages can tell you about the:

– demographics of the employees,
– dress code,
– community involvement or social responsibility,
– and the office layout.

Using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, you can learn:

– what articles are being written about the company;
– whether they company is keeping up with the industry trends;
– who is following the company and how many followers the company has;
– the frequency of activity, which tells you if the company is dedicated to using social media in general;
– how much of the company’s content is being shared and retweeted;
– and what the company is passionate about.

Jayne Mattson, Keystone Associates 

aditi4. Fairygodboss

My first vote is for Fairygodboss, a platform for women, by women. They do a splendid job of recommending how women-friendly particular companies are through anonymous reviews provided by the site’s women members.

Aditi Tandon, Maroon Oak  

Donna5. Check Out the Local Business Scene

Besides the obvious sources such as LinkedIn and Google, consider information on the local business scene, such as the Denver Business Journal. Most of these business magazines include a book of lists or an online directory that includes the contact information for the top managers at the company.

Donna Shannon, Personal Touch Career Services  

By Recruiter Q&A