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How to Judge Potential Employers

Jun 5, 2008
Searching for a job can be a long and arduous process. However it is imperative that employees choose their employers carefully. The tips that follow can help to guide you as your job search progresses.

The 3-Point Checklist

Company Overview

Look for information on the industry type the company is operating in and the type of competition that it faces. This is more important today than ever before especially considering the global business environment in which we live. Competition from emerging economies is difficult to beat unless the company has a clear technological edge. Look for the company's history, its origin, and how successful it is as compared to other businesses in the same market.

Company websites are a good place to start but remember that these are usually written by professional marketing agencies. While the information contained on a company's website may not always be useful in making the best judgment, you can use other sources. Hoover's Online offers a clear perspective of many large and medium sized companies.

Established companies who have been around for some time and have a dominating market presence are more likely to weather economic storms. Companies that are subsidiaries of established parent companies have the financial and technological backing required when there is an economic downturn; the "dot.com bust" is a good example of this.

Financial Outlook - Where Is The Company Heading?

Financial statements, balance sheets, reports that contain detailed information regarding the company's assets and liabilities can be obtained from MSN Money's Central in the investor's section. The company's financial holdings will indicate the annual growth in profit, sales and revenue.

Detailed news of the stock's performance can be obtained from Bloomberg. You are looking for a company that demonstrates steady growth over time. If they do take a loss, then how quickly are they able to recover from it?

In the case of privately held companies, such information is more difficult to access. However, you can write to the chief financial officer and request this information. Usually, your request will be granted, because this information is available to the public.

Identify the Industry

Many strong firms have gone bankrupt because the need for their products or services declined. There is no point in working for a company that is no longer competitive, or one whose industry is obsolete.

Trade publications offer a clear perspective on the market size and the current market state of the industry you are investigating. If the company is operating in multiple market segments focus on the one relevant to your job offer. Industry newsletters, pink papers, and business magazines are other sources for relevant information.

The more information you can gather, the more complete financial picture you will be able to see. Once you have accurate information then you will be able to make a well informed decision. After all, this is not a decision to take lightly.
About the Author
Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solution's Six Sigma Online offers online six sigma training and certification classes for six sigma professionals including, lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.
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