Companies often thoroughly review an applicant’s background to avoid surprises. I would recommend doing exactly the same to anyone sitting on the other side of the table. Especially if you are not completely forced to change jobs and put your name in a new employment contract, I recommend doing a deep review of what kind of company you are about to moving to.

The following is a list of things that I would at least go through relatively well before I put my name on a new employment contract. Of course, many of these are worth doing before the first job interview, just to help yourself and so that you are more familiar with the company in advance.

Company website

This may sound obvious, but you may be surprised by how rarely candidates actually do this! I would be the first to look at the company’s website to get a general feeling. This usually determines very quickly whether a company has followed new developments with online trends and is up to date, understands the importance of online channels in today’s business environment. What the pages are talking about and whether they are up-to-date (e.g. mobile friendliness). Whether they support sales proactively or what they say about the company as an employer. These would all be valid questions to which I would at least try to find an answer.

Social media

What kind of image does the company project on social media platforms? Does it shine? Or should you worry, if they are totally absent online? Very few are the companies that come to mind that can actually afford, to be totally out of social media ecosystem without negatively affecting their business or the image of their employer. So look out carefully, being totally absent online, is actually telling you a lot about your possible future employer, perhaps this is a question worth asking them during your upcoming interview.

Company products and services

Whatever your task and job description, it is always a good idea to find out a little more about the level of the company’s products and services and whether there is genuine demand for them. Of course, finding out about this will be easier if you make the effort to understand how the company is doing and what type of services or products they sell. Figuring out roughly how their business model works, is something that might sound complex from the outside, but it is actually key for you. It will also go a long way during your interview process. Few people invest time in this, but the importance is obvious.

The company’s future prospects

The visions of the future are strongly related to the company’s products and services and what the demand for them will be in the future as well. The company’s opportunities for product development, innovation capacity and financial situation are also important matters. In addition to this, competition, and especially one from abroad, are things worth trying to figure out.

Company financial figures

What is the basis of the company’s operations? The development of turnover, profit, balance sheet, etc. are things that always interest me. Online and depending of the country you’re at, you can buy quite easily financial reports for any company with relatively small price for not putting yourself in a company that is already in financial trouble.

Concrete employee experiences of the company

Anyone can fake things in a job interview. That’s why it’s always important to find out how things really are in the company. And what better way than to try to find people who work or have worked there. LinkedIn is a great tool for this and makes it easy to find everyone who works for your company. You should also take a look at the American website glassdoor.com, where you can also find a relatively large number of international companies.

Your future boss

This is then perhaps the most important. Your own supervisor has a really big impact on your own job enjoyment as well as your own development. So find out as much as you can about your own future boss. It’s best done when you’re trying to get into conversations with people who have worked with him or been led by him.

All of this may seem like a lot of work, but I can assure you it’s worth it. Too often, I see that jobs are changed largely on the basis of feeling, and so surprises are guaranteed to come. In addition to this, when you clarify the issues listed above even at some level before the interview, you get very good questions for the job interview and thus are likely to stand out in a positive way from other applicants.

Thank you for reading,

Teemu Ruuska

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