4 Ways to Background Check a Potential Employer

Backgroundcheck_Jan2012_webAll right, super-sleuths. You sent a strong résumé, and the employer has called you for an interview. What do you do now? It’s almost certain the prospective company is already starting to research who you are and what you’re like outside of work, so it’s just as important that you thoroughly background check them too.

Even with slow economic conditions, choosing the right employer is imperative because you will be relying on them for continuous employment, a steady paycheck, and challenging work to help you develop and grow your skills.

Where do you start? Where do you go other than the main website? What do you look for? Don’t fear, job gumshoes, the Movin’ On Up Detective Agency will help you hit the street, put the finger on available sources, and get the information you need so you can put the screws on your potential employer and get hired.

Direct Approach

Even with the internet giving you more information at your disposal than ever before, some of the best information can be gathered on foot.

Bigger companies or nonprofits generally have an abundance of pamphlets, fliers, and other sources of information available at the front desk if requested. You’d be surprised how many organizations don’t put many details on their websites. Smaller companies and nonprofits are harder to find information for and can require outside sources.

Another old-fashioned way of finding information is through public resources like libraries.  Many public libraries subscribe to databases that aren’t generally available to the public, and those can open up riches of information on companies and non-profits. If you aren’t sure where to look, ask one of the librarians for assistance.

Online Sources

You should be finding out if your employer is a public or private organization. If it’s public, you can use all the sources from the library at your disposal, but if it’s a smaller, private organization, you’ll have to try different methods.

If you don’t have access to a college library and your public library is lacking, there are several websites out there to help you gather intel on potential employers.

Try looking for their new products and services, potential mergers, and their general financial future. Also, look into what their competition is doing to see how the employer is separating itself. Try using websites like Vault or GlassDoor to get general information and opinions on your potential employer.

Social Media Savvy

If you can’t find information on the organization’s website, try looking on their Facebook or Twitter pages. Many times, a company’s social media site will not only have more company information, but will have contact information for you to call or email if you feel like you need more data.

It’s also a good idea to check out the potential employer’s blog as well. This will give great insight to their feel, identity, what it’s about, and what’s important to it. Seeing what is on the company’s mind will give you some topics to discuss when you interview.

Man on the Inside

If you’ve graduated from college, don’t underestimate the value of your school’s alumni association. Try finding out if any of your school’s alumni work for your potential employer and see if they can give you any insight into the company, how the hiring went, and any other useful information they can give. Also, try looking at your LinkedIn connection levels to see if you have connections with anyone associated with that particular company.

If you don’t have access to any graduates or contacts from inside the company, you can always make connections by calling them to find out more information. Try calling the HR department or any recruiters to get more information or promotional material. Start conversing with them, and see if you can get any extra tidbits that aren’t listed in the promotional material.

You may feel like you’re behind the eight ball when it comes to giving your potential employer an up-and-down, but with these helpful hints, you’ll be ready for anything the employer can throw at you. What are some ways you have learned more about a potential company?

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