Think about this: you probably spend as much – if not more – time with your boss than your significant other.
You wouldn’t hesitate to Google your dates before you meet them, right? Yet you don’t apply that same logic to your would-be new boss? Or the founders of the company to which you’re about to commit 40, 50 or 60 hours every week?
Sure, the CEO is considered the thought leader in the virtual flying car industry – but what’s he really like… and how can working under him help your career? Maybe the founders are on the cover of leading entrepreneurial sites and magazines, but are they mentors and coaches… or a group of infantile screaming control freaks? Is your direct supervisor – considered a genius, apparently – a “winner take all” narcissist, or is he an organic leader interested in hiring his replacement?
Remember, during the recruiting process the company is “selling” – perhaps telling you what you want to hear. You just may save yourself a tremendous amount of stress and heartache through some basic research – due diligence – on your potential new boss and company.
At a minimum, even in our current economy when a job or internship is hard to find, investigate these issues:
- The character of the founders, management team and your boss – does their vision and culture match yours?
- What service, product or killer app have they developed – is their product line something you can be passionate about?
- Have they developed a leadership position in the marketplace – or are they a “me too” play that may struggle for years (forcing you to struggle along with them)?
- What is their reputation in the marketplace – and does that reputation match how they “sell” their employer and consumer brands?
Don’t spend hours and hours on this – you aren’t a private investigator! Keep it simple, and you’ll learn a lot in a short time…
- Start with your personal network; is there anyone you know personally who may have some insight on your new boss?
- View the company’s activity on Twitter and Facebook – not what they say, but what is being said about them (and how they react)
- Use LinkedIn to learn about those who work there – and used to work there (Is there high turn-over? Do people speak favorably?)
- Check sites like Glassdoor to get an overall sense of how the company is perceived by its current and former employees
- And, if any severe red flags pop up, check out sites like Better Business Bureau and, in extreme cases, RipOffReport.com
Far too many of us go into a new relationship with a manager or employer with blinders on. Protect your career, by spending a few minutes performing due diligence on your potential employer.
Joe Gagliano, a founding member of YouTern and our CMO, brings years of start-up management, strategic planning, marketing and market research experience to the team and his blog posts. Joe, who runs our learning center for interns, also brings a passion for start-ups, entrepreneurship and mentorship to our team.