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Good employers usually have some things in common.  They have great leaders, a favorable public following, good compensation and benefits.  Employers with a stable history offer transparency in business practices and stand behind their offers for goods and services.  They usually have a strong market share and more positive customer feedback than negative.

But trying to research every company you apply to can be difficult.  It may be helpful to have a guide so that you can quickly evaluate companies on the basis of what you want instead of what they need.  

Employer Selection Guide

This guide includes 10 questions you'll answer regarding an employer to determine if you should take the next step in applying for a position of interest.

1. Is the company in an industry that you have experience, education or training and qualifications?

It's not a bad thing to break into a new industry if your background and future interests can support the change.  Just don't reach too far outside of your sphere of expertise because most hiring managers have short arms.

2. Is there information accessible on local job boards and reporting sites that ranks the employer with current and past employees?

While most of us know to consider our sources and the nature of the reviews from disgruntled employees, it's important to hear what current and past employees think of the employer to see if there's a common theme and/or issues you wish to steer clear.  Just don't overly consume yourself with comments rich in complaints without recognizing there may be an ulterior motive.  Being motivated to write a negative review is much easier than writing a positive one, especially if the reviewer is unemployed, involuntarily.  

3. Is the company currently hiring for local positions for which you have an interest?

Good employers may have little turnover in the area you wish to work.  Send your resume anyway for future openings and continue to keep an open dialogue with any contacts you made in the company's hiring department or otherwise.  It may take months or years before the right position becomes available.  Your focus should still remain primarily on organizations that have current openings while staying in front of (e.g. resume, networking or volunteering) your "top employers" for possible future openings.

4. Do you have any strong contacts within the company that would provide you a referral or give you more background on the company and hiring process?

Networking skills are essential when seeking mid to high-level positions within good organizations.  These contacts may be friends, family, clients or former colleagues.  When hundreds of resumes are submitted for one position, a referral may make the difference.

5. Are the comments favorable about the company regarding customer reviews on major search engines, review sites and business watch dog advocate sites (e.g. BBB)?

Get to know the company you want to employ you.  Working for a company that has a bad reputation with it's customers only makes your job more difficult and your employment future uncertain.  Understand people are more likely to post reviews when they are mad then when they are satisfied with the services of a company.  Look for common problems, issues from the location you wish to work and unresolved complaints that appear the company has yet to resolve.  Don't be afraid to respectfully ask about such issues in the interviewing process.

6. Does the company have a positive trend regarding market share?

There can only be one.  Usually one company dominates in market share, but also consider companies who are aggressive in the pursuit of control of the marketplace.  These companies will be more likely to remain strong in employee retention, customer service and long-term goals and success.

7. Are complaints about the company repetitive and seemingly unaddressed despite the need for correction?

Don't work for a company who has continuous public relations issues, complaints, lawsuits or issues regarding bad business practices.  If they treat their customers poorly, imagine how they treat their employees.

8. If the company is publicly traded, is the stock trending in a positive direction?

Don't get overly consumed with the employer's daily stock price.  Instead, stay in-tune with company news, anticipated or current projects and overall picture of health.  Consider the overall trend based on company history and immediate changes that may affect its value.

9. Is the current company (chief executive officer) CEO, president favorably regarded?

Good leadership increases company value, builds public trust and makes for a better workplace environment.  

 10. Has there been a history of turnover in high-level positions within the company?

One of the easiest ways to determine if the tail is wagging the dog is if there has been a history of frequent changes in leadership or high-level positions in an organization.  Even if a new and effective executive team is now in place, it may mean things will get harder before they bet better.  When this happens, employees are first to get the brunt of it.  This could lead to many openings within the organization. If you're up for the challenge, it may be worth it.  Otherwise, steer clear.


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