Researching potential employers has been made pretty easy with the amount of online information available today.
However, quantity is not the same as quality and detailed research is required to use your time effectively – and of course end up doing the right job with the right organisation.
With so many factors to consider – how exactly should you go about researching potential employers?
The company website
The first port of call should be the company website.
- It tells you everything you need to know about them, in their own words – and some extra besides.
- The general tone and branding of the website will give you an insight into the ethos of the company, and there’s likely to be an ‘About Us’ page so you can read more about their history, and why they’re so different.
Most universities and colleges have an alumni network accessible directly or through LinkedIn. This is a great way for researching potential employers and building your job search network.
- In LinkedIn go to the Groups Directory and search for the name of any educational institutions you have attended – and join the group or groups (some institutions have multiple groups, so join as many as appeal to you).
- Then take a look at the group’s Discussions, Members and Jobs and make a note of networking opportunities that fit your job search criteria.
- When you’re ready join a discussion of fellow alums talking about your preferred industry, comment on an article someone has posted or introduce yourself to the group.
- If you get stuck, remember that groups are managed by a representative of the alumni association who are very knowledgeable, well connected and usually very helpful – so ask them for some pointers on how to use the group for your research.
Just as a personal social media account can speak volumes about a potential employee (better delete those dubious Facebook pictures), they can also give you a better idea about an employer.
- Check whether the company has any social media accounts. How are they used?
- Are they used in a purely marketing and promotional based capacity, or are they used for customer service purposes too?
- Do the social media team appear affable and friendly, or professional and formal?
Top graduate employers in the UK
If the potential employer you’re researching is a large company, they are very likely to be featured on one of the ‘UK Top Graduate Employers’ lists.
These are a combination of hard facts and satisfaction surveys and opinions from recent graduate recruits and longer serving employees; the latter being a better insight into the organisation’s culture, benefits, training schemes and career development opportunities. Useful starting points include:
- The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers
- The Guardian UK 300: the most popular graduate employers for 2015/16
- The Complete University Guide – Top Graduate Employers – By Region and Industry Sector
Best employers in the UK
There are other sites which collect feedback from individuals and regular surveys about UK employers, including: