The Desk

April 8, 2007

An About Face for MySpace and Corporate Blogging

Filed under: Job Search — Yvonne LaRose @ 8:43 PM

It’s important to research the company you’re thinking about interviewing with. You need to know as much as possible about it before you go into the meeting so that you can feel confident about the decision to continue with your candidacy. You need to know there is a match and why there is. It’s very important to have a good sense of the corporate culture before you get there rather than find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with Alice in Wonderland. But how in the world can you learn anything about the company, much less the culture?

Lou Adler has complimented job seekers on the amount of sophistication they now possess. He essentially said, in 2004, that the job seekers are giving recruiters a run for their money in regard to the level of questions asked and the amount of knowledge they have about the industry as well as the company. So pat yourself on the back for that feather in your cap.

Back to research. There’s reading the corporate website and the mission statement. When you got through reading that, did you understand what it said? The other thing that’s important is whether that statement actually matches the reality of the environment. Well, we need to double check that.

So the next thing to do is look for a corporate blog that’s maintained by employees of the company. Read those blogs carefully. See what the worker has to say about their job, about the industry, about recruiting, about getting things done. Find out what their job is and determine how close it is to what you want to do in that company. Not a match? Find another that is closer.

Vault and WetFeet have excellent libraries with guides on many companies and careers. Vault also features company discussion boards where actual employees discuss life within the halls of XYZ Corporation. They’re pretty candid and provide good insight.

Also check out places such as MySpace and FaceBook. They’re not completely dedicated to people doing things that are juvenile under color of “youthful indiscretion.” The people on those sites will probably talk about their work lives and what shapes the majority of their lives. That will be revealing.But if you’re just starting your job search and still researching which recruiter will be best for you, much less which company has the right type of culture, sign on with a recruiting network and become a lurker. Read the posts of the recruiters and the HR managers, the researchers and all the other levels of personnel in the hiring and placement process.

The one place I know of where these types of people show the real side of their company (since they are representative of the culture) is ERE Media. If you want to know what the recruiter or the HR manager is like at a particular company, use the search tool at the top of the site, look up the company name. It will provide a list of the people who work at the company. Click on a few names until you reach the ones who work in the city where you’ll be interviewing. Read their profile, if they’ve completed it. Then look down the list of the person’s list of discussion posts. Read carefully. You’ll be able to collect a more or less accurate view of what to expect of the person and the culture. Does it sound like they’re particularly obtuse or have an agenda? You’ll know whether you need to gently lead to the water or if this person is sharp as a tack and ethical. Although not as colorful, another place to check out some of the people who are recruiters and HR managers is at LinkedIn. This is a network of people who post their profile and endeavor to link to others who can be beneficial in their business associations and introductions to people who can be helpful in getting things pushed through. I’ll talk about more features of LinkedIn on another day. But for now, focus on the person’s profile. Pay attention to what others have said about them if they have recommendations. And also read what they’ve said in response to any questions that have been posed by other users.

It’s a heavy task to research the company where you believe you want to work. But there are ways to cut through the propoganda and get to the real picture of what the culture is. These are just a few tools to help you do so.

Get the scoop on 5,000+ employers: With Vault’s Employee Surveys, get insider info on culture, compensation, hiring, more.
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