You may think it’s impossible to know whether a company is perfect with you until after you’ve snagged the job. But with a bit of research—and asking some important questions—you can actually determine whether a company is the right fit for you before you accept an offer. How? Use this handy guide, and you’ll soon know whether you should work there.
Use Glassdoor Resources
You may not have to step into a company’s office to find out whether it’s the perfect place for you—Glassdoor’s resources can help you figure that out from the comfort of your own computer. Glassdoor offers more than 33 million reviews and insights for approximately 900,000 companies, written by current and former employees in-the-know. Here, you can find out the positives and negatives of a company to which you would like to apply, as well as glean some valuable information about the benefits it offers. Our salary reports will help you determine whether you can afford to work at the company you’re considering and arm you with the information you’ll need for a successful salary negotiation. And our interview reviews will not only help you prepare but also show what company managers care about.
But beyond those helpful tools, Glassdoor also offers “Ratings & Trends” for companies—showing ratings for Culture & Values, Work-Life Balance, Senior Management, Comp & Benefits, and Career Opportunities, all useful in finding the perfect company for you.
Do Your Research
To find out whether a company is perfect for you, you will have to conduct research. You’ll want to find out a bevy of information—think:
- How many locations it has, so you can access whether you’re willing to work where it is.
- What are the company values, so you can make sure they match and reflect your own
- Company history, so you can make sure it is not tied to any past challenges
- Who you’ll be working with, so you can ensure you will get along with your co-workers
- Top competitors, so you can make sure the company has a viable future
- Financial outlook, to ensure you can continue to grow your career and your bank account
- Vacation policy, so you can see if you will be able to achieve work-life balance
- Healthcare and general benefits, so you can make sure you can take care of yourself with this job
And these are just a few of the insights you should learn! You’ll also want to research the company’s culture, which is the company’s personality, and how it values and treats its employees.
Ask the Right Questions
An interview isn’t just about trying to impress a hiring manager; it’s also a chance to find out whether the company is the right fit for you. After you’ve answered the interviewer’s questions, it’s time to ask your own questions that will help you determine whether this is a company you really want to work for. Here are 12 you should always ask a manager—each question is meant to reveal how content employees are, what the company culture is really like, whether managers will help foster employees’ career development, and more.
- How long have you been with the company?
- What was the last big achievement that was celebrated?
- What’s the dress code like here?
- What activities do you offer for employees?
- What was the department’s biggest challenge last year and what did you learn from it?
- How much time do the owners/leaders/founders spend in the office?
- What do people on the team that I’d be joining do for lunch every day?
- How do you measure success and over what time frame? How are these determined?
- Would you be willing to show me around the office?
- Does the company give back to the community? In what ways?
- How many of the current team members have flexible schedules?
- What continuing learning opportunities do you have for your employees?
Evaluate the CEO
Don’t underestimate the importance of a good boss. While you may not work directly for the company’s CEO, he or she has a huge effect on company culture and how employees are valued—or not. (In other words, a bad CEO can mean a bad company—one that will most certainly not be perfect for you.)
In fact, Glassdoor research shows that a satisfied workforce is an essential driver of CEO approval ratings on Glassdoor. Three aspects of company culture matter most:
- Opinion of senior leadership
- View of career opportunities
- Quality of compensation and benefits packages.
Luckily, Glassdoor provides an easy way for you to access a CEO: its company reviews also come with CEO ratings. CEO are rated by current and past employees on a scale of zero to five, with the highest numbers signifying the best CEOs. You can even check out the highest rated CEOs for last year on The Top CEOs Award list.
Learn to Identify Red Flags
If you listen to your gut—and look for certain warning signs—you can avoid the wrong company in favour of the right fit. How? Look for common red flags that spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e.
Red flags can appear during an initial interview, show up in the reviews left on a company’s Glassdoor profile, or even be heard thru an industry grapevine. Some common red flags include: a dishevelled office environment, a too-quick job offer, a very poorly defined job description, employees and managers admitting they work 24/7, or a low-ball salary offer.
Red flags don’t have to be deal breakers. But, for example, if you value work-life balance, a company that cops to working its employees on weekends and after-hours may not be the right company for you. Just remember: “A work-related red flag is basically a warning sign, either overt or even a gut feeling you have, that the job won’t be a good fit for you,” explains career coach Hallie Crawford. “It can also be a possible issue you sense with the company, why the job is available, your prospective boss, or a team member you’d be working with.”
Recognise a Good Company
Just as a bad company comes with warning signs, a good company hints at its true colours, too. Glassdoor’s reviews, salaries, and interviews give you a glimpse at what some of the top companies are. But beyond that, you can look for other positive signs, such as a smooth interview process, a sense that managers care about employe development and take their employees’ feedback seriously, that the company fosters strong work relationships, and a vibrant—and organised—work environment. Of the latter, Jill Santopietro Panall, owner of 21Oak HR Consulting, LLC, tells Glassdoor, “Look at the actual work areas—is there a lot of decoration and personal embellishment or is it all cold, grey, uniform cubicles with no life to them? I want to see—in the physical space—how people are reacting to being there and see the company is encouraging them to be their authentic selves at work. It doesn’t have to be a slobby mess, but it should look like real, unique, interesting people work there, not robots. It’s also nice to see team projects and team achievements being celebrated.”
Still unsure? Check out Glassdoor's Best Places to Work award winners! You cannot go wrong with these exemplary outfits.