Use social media to check if this company is worthy of your “Like” online.
A survey by Jobvite found that 93 percent of employers will perform a social media check on candidates before making a hiring decision.
If employers are performing social media checks to determine whether you're a good fit for their company, why shouldn't you turn the tables and use social media to decide whether the company is right for you?
Don't limit your research on potential employers to their company website. This information tends to be considerably biased. After all, the “careers” section of an employer's site is intended to act as a marketing tool to convince professionals that the company is a great place to work.
In order for you to get the full picture of a company and understand whether it's a good fit for your needs, you'll need to dig deeper.
Below are tips to help you effectively leverage social media and other online tools to assess a potential employer.
Related: How to Take Advantage of Social Media During the Job Search
Decode the company culture.
Company culture has become a competitive feature touted by many employers to entice the best talent. Whether it's laid back attire, work-from-home opportunities, or frequent team-building getaways, the perks of working for a company with a strong culture are well understood, and employers do their best to promote the benefits their company culture offers to employees. Assessing company culture can help you decide if a particular employer fits your personal work style and if you think you may be happy there.
A company's social media presence is one of the tools available that can tell you a lot about what it would be like to work there. If a company's website is set up effectively, you'll easily be able to find links to social media channels that represent the company. Active channels and the number thereof will vary widely from company to company, but you'll typically be able to at least find the basics and start your social media check.
While a company's social media channels should have a consistent voice and tone across the board, different channels provide different types of information. Consider the following examples in regard to the differences in channels when researching a company with a social media check.
LinkedIn: This is the professional side of the company. You'll find posts about things like job listings, awards the company or its employees have received, upcoming events, and PR mentions.
Facebook: You'll see more of the character of the company here. While there will still be a level of professionalism, it's likely that you'll find more photos of employees interacting with one another at the office or during outings, stories about the company, and anecdotes about what's great about working there.
Instagram: This is where the company can really promote its personality. Here you can find photos and videos of the people and things that make the company what it is and really give the company life.
Don't limit yourself to the three channels listed above, of course. Companies are active on all types of channels these days. From Twitter and Tumblr, all the way to Snapchat and Google's constantly changing Google+. Take out your list of target companies for your job search and start looking for each organization on social media.
Related: How to Create a Target Company List for Your Job Search
Learn from word-of-mouth.
While you can certainly gain a lot of insight into a company by viewing what it posts about itself on its social media channels, the fact of the matter is that the posts are typically crafted by the marketing department to help the company connect with its target audience and develop things like brand loyalty and recognition. For this reason, it's important that you go to a source that's more accurate and a bit more genuine: current and former employees.
Social media sites, like Facebook, for example, allow followers to post reviews about companies. Companies that value honesty and transparency will allow open reviews from their customers and employees.
In addition, look at sites like Glassdoor and Firsthand to go beyond what traditionally falls within the category of social media. These platforms feature posts from current and former employers about the quality of the company, its interview process, and how it treats its employees. These reviews offer a great deal of insight into how much of a fit a certain company would be for you.
Consider feedback from both current and former employees, but take each with a grain of salt. Current employees may tend to be a bit biased toward the company that they work for. Former employees, on the other hand, are former employees for a reason. People leave jobs for all types of reasons, not always negative. The ones who did leave based on a negative reason, however, are highly likely to be biased in the opposite direction, whether the departure was their fault or not. Nonetheless, this tactic can offer valuable insight in your search for the right fit and can help in assessing company culture.
What if a company you would love to work for doesn't currently have any openings that fit your particular set of skills? Not to worry. You can follow the company on social media to keep up-to-date on new openings that might match what you're looking for.
LinkedIn is the obvious place to start the job search, but companies will also post job listings on other channels, so keep up with a variety of social channels. Following companies on social media can help you keep up with updated listings without spending a lot of time scouring through pages and pages on companies' job listing website pages.
Read company blogs.
Make sure to include the company blog in your social media check. You can learn a lot by browsing through company blogs. Forward-thinking companies will be actively engaged in its business' community and consistently posting thought leadership pieces.
Company blogs will often present expertise in the form of articles written by team members. This will allow you, the job seeker, to dig into the caliber of employees with whom you'd be working if you were hired by one of your target companies. It can also help in assessing company culture — a company that allows employees to blog likely has a great internal culture.
A successful company will often have its team members frequently post articles on the innovative ideas and concepts on which they're working. Innovation and staying on top of trends are key components of a successful business, and obviously one of your goals should be to work for a company that's headed in a positive direction. Job security is important, and a company blog can provide you with insights into the future direction of a company you're targeting.
Whatever platform or channel you choose to utilize, a social media check can be a highly effective tactic for determining fit. You can learn a lot about a company by what it posts on social media and the messages it sends out to its target audience. If the messages it sends connect with you, then it's likely that the company is a fit. Arm yourself with this powerful tool when searching for your next job and you'll be better positioned to be happy in your next job.
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