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Work & Purpose

Best Ways for Job Hunters to Research Potential Employers

Websites and social media tools to suss out a good place to work


Before the internet, job hunters who wanted to research potential employers had to go by word of mouth, newspaper articles and accept whatever they could glean from recruiters and interviewers. These days, however, technology has given job seekers a new set of tools to suss out vital information such as salaries, benefits, company culture and even how employers treat their employees.

That’s a huge help when you’re looking for work, since it’s crucial to vet prospective employers to make sure they’d be a good fit for you and vice versa.

Companies vary widely when it comes to the culture, pay, benefits and type of work you’ll be doing, so it’s  important to do as much research on the job and company as possible before signing an offer letter. Doing your research will also help you prove to a job interviewer that you’re well suited for the job you hope to get.

The Great Place to Work site surveys more than 100 million global employees a year.

Next Avenue readers can get a free digital download of the Careerasuarus.com site’s The Ultimate Job Interview Research Workbook, a guide to help you find information about employers and keep track of the research you do. (Just use the code “nextavenue” when you go to the site.)

5 Sites to Check Out

The following five sites offer quality information about salaries, CEO reviews, employee reviews, benefits summaries and other insights that job seekers will find valuable.

Glassdoor. This site features anonymous reviews and personalized salary data amassed from current and former employees of more than 600,000 companies. You can apply for a job here, too.

Payscale. At this site, job seekers can get a summary estimating their worth in the job market. Users can choose to evaluate their current salary, compare a job offer to current salary-market rates or do general research about job titles to see what average pay is for them.

Great Place to Work. This tool, from the Great Place to Work analytics and consulting firm, aims to help job seekers find, well, a great place to work. It surveys more than 100 million global employees a year and job candidates can read employee reviews, see benefits package and compensation information and peruse frequently updated lists of — you guessed it — great places to work, broken down by industry and location.

Indeed.com. Job hunters may know Indeed as a good place to find job postings, but may not realize it also offers resources about employers. Visitors to the site will find a company review section that hosts a searchable database of employers to learn about salaries, benefits packages and experiences from former employees. There are also frequently updated lists for the best corporate, hospital and nonprofit employers.

Salary.com. Similar to PayScale, Salary.com lets you see what you can expect to make based on location, job title and company. This website also allows users to enter several comparable job titles to see if a different position with similar responsibilities might offer higher pay.

Doing Independent Research

You can also do a little independent research by investigating the company’s online footprint. Do a Google search to see what news outlets say about the business and its practices.

And scan the last few months of posts on the business’ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages to get a sense for its culture, mission and values. Most companies have public social media pages, so even if you don’t have accounts at their sites, you should still be able to view their posts.

Finally, if you know someone at the employer where you plan to apply for a job, ask that person what it’s like to work there and about any concerns you might have.

LinkedIn can help you connect with employees at nearly any company, too. Take the time to fill out your LinkedIn profile so it best represents your experience and qualifications, then request connections with other professionals who work at companies that interest you. Once connected, you can send messages to ask what it’s like to work there.

By Jason McDowell
Jason McDowell is a freelance writer based in New York who has written for Recruiter Today and other outlets. You can find him at JustAboutWriteLLC.com.

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