Research the Job Before Saying ‘Yes’

A reader of this blog sent me a note encouraging others not to make the mistake she did–accept the wrong job.

“I didn’t realize until three months into my current position that I really didn’t know as much as I should have about my company, the culture, or what the job truly entailed,” she wrote.  “We as ‘future leaders’ have to do our research about companies, their leadership, their areas of specialties, their position in the market and the expectations so that we can make the best decision.”  She correctly observes that we spend too much of our time at work, so we better know what we’re getting into.

In her case, she doesn’t have a PR degree and is working outside of public relations, but wants to switch careers.  Fortunately, she’s completing a PR graduate degree which will help her make the jump.  She asked for recommendations on how not again make the wrong job choice.  Based on her candid assessment of her current situation, I’m confident she’ll do her homework before taking the next job. 

In future interviews, be sure to ask the most junior and most senior persons to describe the organization’s culture.  If they don’t sound similar, beware.  After getting the job offer, ask to meet one of the people in the process for coffee or lunch to get a better sense of the job and culture.  Also, tap your network.  Ask people who might know people in the firm. 

A variety of online tools can help you conduct your own research into this profession, culture and salaries.  Here are a few I recommend:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a fount of information about PR jobs.

Careerproject.org is an interactive career profile database that carries personal observations by individuals actually in those positions.  The PR section of the site carries a wide range of insights on various job levels within the profession.

Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For can help you determine the type of company and culture where you might excel.  You also can read about the 25 companies that each have 700 or more job openings currently.

2 comments on this post.
  1. Paul:

    Absolutely.

    The interview is not just a one-sided affair. YOU are also interviewing your potential employer to see if the chemistry is there and organizational structure is suitable.

    Was called for an interview recently in an area I have wanted to work for some time. Despite being exactly the position I wanted, I realized via prior research and during the interview that the organization was a train-wreck in progress from top to bottom and had to walk away.

    Unfortunate outcome, but the best decision.

  2. Jasmine Smith:

    It’s great that you were able to see the wreck before it occured. I think we forget sometimes that an interview is not only about landing the job, but its about the right fit professionally and culturally for the individual.

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