A data oriented cheat sheet to research companies for your next job
We have all been there - you can’t stand your current job and are desperately trying to crack your next role by applying to jobs online. You see a long job description, a company logo and 2 paragraphs on the company. But you have no idea what are you really applying to.
Who will be my boss? Does the team care about same things as me? How fast is the company growing? What will be my day to day work look like? Argh..
This pressure of finding the next job, coupled with no transparency on the company’s side can be frustrating and lead to desperation. But it doesn’t need to be like that. Finding the right info to help you make smarter decisions is not that difficult, you just have to build a proper checklist and do a little effort to dig deeper.
Step 1 - Adopt a new philosophy
Be data oriented
Bring out the inner data wizard in you! Instead of being influenced by one glassdoor review, dig deeper and find the patterns of last 6 months.
Treat this as high priority
Researching before you apply to jobs is as important as preparing for interviews.
Access to information is your birthright
Wanting to find out company growth rates, future plans, funding runway, etc. is not a bad thing, but should be encouraged!
Get out of your comfort zone
You might have to message ex-employees on Linkedin or ask the hiring manager for their current revenues.
Step 2 - List parameters important for you
Some parameters like company growth rate, team you will work with, industry standards, etc. are almost globally an important criteria for everyone. But true belongingness at your role comes from high matching with the things that truly matter to you deep down e.g. joining a research oriented team might be important to you but not everyone, or you might want to join a smaller team within a larger company.
Step 3 - Start your research with these sources
This is where you inner Sherlock Holmes and business acumen as a data scientist can truly shine! Some of the most impactful ways through which you can achieve this are given below.
Analyse the financial and company growth data
If it is a b2c company, especially in the tech domain; then you can get a good idea from their app installs and website visitors growth from various websites like appannie.com and alexa.com for growth patterns. Check out the images below for data on Swiggy’s website growth and app installs on Android.
If it is a public company, you can also use the “Investor Relations” tab to find detailed reports on revenue, upcoming products and even call recordings from investor meetings that every public company must compulsory provide.
For the stock price trading and comparisons with its competitor, you can simply use the NASDAQ website or a portal like moneycontrol.com
Check out the website and social media
Though you should treat a corporate website as the least trusted source of info it still obviously is a good place to start. The website and its social media presence will give you a good idea about the company’s brand, the way they interact with customers and what plans do they have in the coming months. Some special sections to note down:
- If b2b, read the client logos and case studies
- Read about them in google news to see what new products have been launched and any market partnerships, if any
Give special focus to crowdsourced trusted info
Look at the about us section for management leaders profiles and the company’s vision. Though the last part is very tricky! Writing values and mission on a website is very different from actually walking the talk. You should trust crowdsourced reviews on websites like Glassdoor more for that.
And especially these days, with the numbers of data science and AI focused companies on the rise - it’s only peer based reviews that will give you a true reality of how much AI is used vs a press release on funding raised.
Reach out to ex/current employees
Ah, my favourite one! The highest ROI source, but the least one used. Most of the candidates that I have helped belong have done so successfully because they took the effort to get real feedback from ex-employees. Confused where to start? Just use the template below and reach out to people on a social profile
Hi [Name], How are you doing? I see that [Company] is hiring for [Role name]. Do you know the person who is hiring for this position? I would love to know more about the company and the role directly from someone who is currently directly involved. I am specifically interested in [topic1] and [topic2]. Can you spare 10 mins on a call? Thanks in advance and let me know if I can be of any help.
Culture and values
This is trickiest of the lot. How do you really find out what a company is, and how its people make decisions without meeting them? You will of course get some data from Glassdoor reviews and interviewing ex-employees, but sometimes you just have to let your gut call guide you (isn’t gut call a calculated decision too? One based on past patterns..)
Take my case, I got excited to join my current company because their About Us section was sorted alphabetically with no bias. Just like I had done it for my previous company! Where as you usually find that most companies only put senior leadership profiles, even smaller startups.
Step 4 - Score each company on the parameters
And voila! You are done. Wasn’t that tough, was it?
It’s not really a tip (ha!) but a direct benefit of talking to ex/current employees. Word surely reaches back to the hiring manager (I have seen it happen every time) and your application in the end stands out for your attention to details.