One of the biggest regrets you can have in your career is signing on to a new job and finding yourself miserable half a year or even a week later.
Sometimes you become unhappy fast due to the role itself. You may not be challenged enough by the task you have taken on. And sometimes it is the company that isn’t right for you. That can hurt even more. You can often find or create new challenges within your current role, but you can’t really make changes to the company you signed on to.
So if you are embarking on a job search, one of the most important decisions you need to make is to find out which company is right for you.
There are multiple fronts you need to examine while selecting a target company. It will be up to you to determine your priorities.
Consider the following traits of a company (and any others that are important to you). Order them one through six so you know what you value most in a company.
- Location. What kind of commute do you expect? Are you comfortable with an hour long commute? Traveling by car/train/bus/bike? Are you even willing to relocate if the offer is good enough?
- Industry. Are you up for a transition or do you feel that your experiences are best applied in your current industry?
- Size/Demographic. Do you enjoy small, compact teams? Or are you used to managing 50+ reports? This can be a tough change for those in smaller companies that enjoy direct interactions with every level of an organization – as opposed to working in or managing a team of 50 where you might not even know everyone’s name! Also consider the diversity and demographics of the company. For example, an important factor may be the amount of females in senior management roles, or even the general age of the people you are working with.
- Mission. Often one of the most important especially among millenials. What does the company stand for and value? What do they hope to achieve?
- Perks. Vacation days, telecommute options, health benefits, salary, company car, etc! Consider making a deeper list of perks that are important for you!
- Culture. What are the hours? Do they work hard and play hard? Is there a bowling alley on campus (hardly the craziest thing we have heard that exists in an office).
Now that you have ranked them, how do you find out which ones match your needs.
- Check Their Brand on Social. The quickest way to get a good feel for the company is to poke around on their various social media outlets. If you want a better idea of the office culture, how they bond and get work done, try checking out Instagram or Facebook pages. These are usually the more ‘personal’ social media outlets being used. To get a better idea of their mission or values, try checking out their LinkedIn. And to see their thoughts on the industry they are involved with, look to their Twitter feed.
- Informational Interviews. The next step is to see who you know – or can meet – at the company. Get coffee with a current (or *very* recently former) employee to find out how work gets done, how senior management interfaces with the organization, and beyond.
If you are interested in finding out how the top Management Consulting firms rank across some of these parameters, take a look at our Best Companies to Work For.
Try to isolate the top 5 firms that meet as many of your needs as possible. If they aren’t publicly hiring, that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them! Aside from waiting and hoping that a matching role opens, see if someone working there in your network has insider information about roles that are opening soon. If they have a role that doesn’t exactly fit your background but is a close match, you still might want to check it out. Alternatively, see if you can take on a project with them. If you do well enough, they might just take you under their wing full time.