These are uncertain times with global inflation, political turmoil and rising interest rates. And with many companies embarking on austerity measures, job offers are being withdrawn before employees even get to work their first day. So you may be wondering whether you should stay in a stable, albeit unsatisfying, job or consider changing jobs. It’s not an easy decision.
But changing jobs still has its perks. According to Pew Research, the typical American who changed jobs from April 2021 to March 2022 saw their real wages rise 9.7% from a year earlier. This happened despite an increase in the inflation rate. In contrast, less than half (47%) of those who stayed with the same employer experienced an increase in real income.
While this is still a job-seeker market, it pays to be cautious and prepared. There are ways to mitigate the risk by doing a thorough research on your potential employer before making a job change. These tips will help you conduct your due diligence so you can approach the process with knowledge and clarity.
Examine the corporate culture
Ideally, you would like to work for an organization whose corporate culture aligns with your values. An organization’s website is an excellent place to start. The mission statement gives you an insight into the values and priorities of the company. Use social media sites like LinkedIn to connect and message current or former employees. You can also broaden your search to check out sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Comparably. Also, be aware of how you were treated during the interview and listen to your intuition. If invited for an onsite interview, arrive early so you can observe the area. Then try to get a sense of the general energy in the office and see how people interact. Try to make sure it’s the kind of place that inspires you to do your best work every day.
Ask the tough questions
Asking intelligent questions is crucial during the interview process. Some examples are:
- How is the company adapting in these economically challenging times?
- Are there concerns about layoffs or hiring freezes in the future?
- What are the key milestones the company needs to achieve in the next year?
- Where do you see the company in five years?
- What stock option or stock incentive programs does the company have?
Make sure the company is as transparent as possible. For example, if the team is unable to answer questions about funding or requires you to make a financial investment before joining, these could be important red flags.
Research financial performance
If you’re thinking of joining a public company, you’re in luck. There’s no shortage of financial information at your fingertips. You can search the EDGAR database, which gives you free access to common documents filed with the SEC, including annual and quarterly reports. It’s a bit trickier for private companies and startups. First, find out how the company is funded. If they’re backed by a reputable venture capital firm, that’s usually a good sign. There are also subscription databases like Crunchbase, which provide data and analysis on startups, investors, and incubators. Finally, Dun & Bradstreet is a good source of information on private organizations, although the amount of data will vary from company to company.
Look at the leadership team
Before making a job change, it’s important to research the executive team—especially if you’re interviewing at a startup. First, find out about the CEO’s track record at other companies. Make sure they have a focused vision, a strategic plan, and adequate resources. Ask yourself questions like:
- Are they honest, straight forward and real?
- What is their leadership style and how do they act under pressure?
- If it’s a startup, have there been other successful exits?
A strong leader should be able to achieve short-term goals without compromising long-term strategy.
Connect with employees and customers
If you know a current or former employee, it’s a good idea to contact them. One of the best ways to learn about a company is to talk to people who can give you real-life insights. Another idea is to contact current customers to see how satisfied they are with the product or service. You can learn a lot about how the organization manages its people based on how it treats customers. The more information you can gather, the less risk there is when changing jobs.
The most important thing to remember is that the recruitment process is not a one-way street. They rate the company the same way they rate you. Before making a job change, take these steps to research a potential employer. That way, you can mitigate your risk, make an informed decision, and ultimately set yourself up for long-term professional success.