Man with binoculars

Fresh ways to research a potential employer

Before committing to building a job application it’s important to research the brand. Granted it seems simple. Indeed, if you’re willing to change your daily routine for a new opportunity you should be investigating everything – from the job and person descriptions right down to the transport options and where you’ll buy lunch.

However, I’m talking branding. As a Comms professional, branding will always be a significant player in my research. Branding is an organisation’s look and feel, an emotional presence and an identity. What would happen then if you found these elements were scarce? How could you examine and highlight the cultural fit in your application? Answers might appear through industry aggregators such as Glassdoor or Comparably – if the company is listed. Recently I’ve found job rating sites aren’t immune from the TripAdvisor trap. That being, a crowd-sourced portal where personal grievances go unresolved, the entries are more than three-to-five years old or there isn’t enough trend data to inform a clear opinion.

So identify the customer touchpoints

As a candidate, you’re seeking the reassurance you’ll be joining at the right time and your skills and experience will add value. So to help research the culture, secret-shop the customer-facing collateral. Look at their websites, brochures, advertising and social channels and ask;

Image – Who are the target customers? Are you, as a future employee likely to recognise their needs? What will your work be like dealing with these customers?

Positioning – How are the products or services marketed? For instance, if you’re in the FMCG arena this is may be reflected in future sales, size, and scope of your work.

Personality – What is the writing style? Is it conversational or technical? If they can clearly explain their product line to prospects, then you’re likely to enjoy learning the basic offer quickly.

Communication – Do they nuture a social community? Is there likely to be an environment that’s willing to take feedback? Does their photography show real employees? Are they particularly invested in employee experience?

Differentiation – How do they promote their points of difference? Do they describe themselves as an international business with global expertise? Will there be scope for sharing in this, perhaps through travel?

Further sources

Press releases – Always search Google News for official announcements from both the hiring company and any brand extensions (tie-ups). How do they describe themselves? Who have they aligned their brand with? Do they take exciting risks?

Do they have an intern or graduate programme – there are great advantages for teams that are offered interns. These include chances to renew your own skills and learning through modern methods brought in by university students.

Awards or accreditations – Zupa proudly displays the badge for Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in Application Development, and Silver Partner across Cloud Platform and Datacenter on our website and materials. This demonstrates ‘consistent capability, expertise, and commitment’.