Friday, October 23, 2009

How a New Grad Can Research an Employer

Corporate culture. Most organizations articulate their culture with a statement or even an entire section. Pay attention to how the culture fits, or doesn’t fit, with your own.

Also take a look at photos. At Internet search giant Google, for example, people sit on colorful balls during meetings. This is a very different environment from a Big Four accounting firm where meetings are typically conducted around a conference table.

By the same token, even seemingly small things, like whether casual or formal business attire is the norm, speak to culture. Ask yourself what you prefer and see how the potential employer’s environment meets your requirements.

Benefits. Large employers generally have a separate careers website, accessible from the company’s main site by selecting a tab marked Careers.

At the careers site, you’ll find information directly related to employment, including specifics about benefits.

Again, it’s important to know what you’re seeking. If childcare is important to you, look for information about daycare facilities and/or childcare subsidies. If a flexible work arrangement is at the top of your list, see if this is among the offerings.

Advancement opportunities. As a single-minded, career-minded woman, you are also interested in long-range opportunities. To find out how dedicated a potential employer is to your career advancement, look at the organization’s education and training programs. Does the employer provide tuition reimbursement? What about training?

Are career paths detailed? Today, many corporate careers sites feature employee profiles. Sometimes these are video or audio profiles; other times they are text. Regardless of format, pay attention to content. Do employees talk about growth opportunities and how they worked their way up in the organization? If so, it suggests a culture of promotion from within.

Does the company have a management training program? It doesn’t matter if you’re already a manager. Such a program speaks to staff development.

Similarly, look for mentoring and company-sponsored networking groups. These too show the organization supports individual growth.

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