While an employer might be keen to employ you, what can you do to make sure they are the right organisation or practice for you?
‘There are a variety of ways you can research a prospective employer,’ says James Brent, business director at Hays Accountancy & Finance. ‘The best place to start is usually the company’s website where you’ll likely find further details, news, recent projects and any accolades received.’ It’s also good to do a more general Google search to see what other news comes up.
Social media is also a really useful way of finding out more.
‘Looking at feeds, such as a LinkedIn company page, will provide you with an insight into the company’s tone of voice, and quite often an insight into its culture,’ says Brent.
Visiting independent review sites such as Glassdoor is also recommended to gain a true picture of what current and past employees think of the employer in question. Depending on the size of the company, you are able to view a number of ratings for career progression, salaries, culture, and so on, as well as read anonymous reviews from employees.
‘You can also research existing employees on LinkedIn to find out how long they have been with the business and if they have progressed internally,’ advises Brent. ‘If so, then that’s another indicator that the company will reward your efforts and be a great place to work.’
You obviously want to focus your efforts on companies that can offer you the best chance to reach your potential. So if, for example, there is no mention on the company’s website or literature on why they may be a great place to work in terms of offering career progression and other opportunities, this should raise a red flag.
But bear in mind that sometimes you have to make reasonable compromises.
‘Consider the elements you think you could be more flexible about in order to get the job that you really want, and those which you definitely aren’t,’ suggests Brent. For example, would you be willing to go slightly lower than your ideal salary if the company offered generous benefits and training opportunities?
One warning sign to look out for during the interview process itself is if the interviewer doesn’t discuss the wider team, warns Brent: ‘One of the keys things about a good job is working with a team that supports each other. If throughout the interview process there is no mention of the wider team, it should make you question the company culture and if there is a sense that everybody is reaching for the same goal.’
On the other hand, if the interviewer is genuinely passionate about the role within their team and the company, then this is often a good sign.
If you leave the interview process feeling convinced and excited about the opportunity, this is good news and you’ll likely feel sold on the company and what they are offering. Equally, if the interviewer is able to go into detail about your role and what potential you have, it is a good sign the company is serious about your position and will put the resources into developing you.
This article was first published in the August 2019 edition of Student Accountant magazine