Career Woman

Why you should background check a future employer


Accepting the wrong job can have very important consequences on your general wellbeing. A toxic job environment may have a harmful effect on your mental and physical health, and your financial livelihood. But how to make sure you are making the right choice if all you get are a few interviews? Freelancers perform background checks on their clients in order to verify data like their payment capacity. Why shouldn’t employees do the same? Companies, like people, have digital footprints. So finding more information about a potential employer can be as easy as a few clicks.

Where to start

If you know the owner’s name, you can run an online background check. Go to Check People, input whatever information you have, and get a report in just a few seconds. In it, you’ll get access to public records (such as criminal records, sex offender’s status, and bankruptcy history). If you are on the hunt for a new job, Check People’s monthly fee includes unlimited searches, which could really come in handy (and you can cancel anytime). This type of background check is completely legal, and the person you are researching does not need to be informed about it, so your privacy is safe.

The first thing you want to know is that your future employer’s identity is true. This will show on your Check People report. Then, pay attention to details such as:

  1. Former employee lawsuits. While some may come from litigious former employees, you want to avoid working for someone with a history of mistreating their staff.
  2. Bankruptcies: A business owner who has gone through several bankruptcies is a risk. You never know when you can find yourself without a job.
  3. Criminal Convictions: Has your potential employer been convicted of fraud? Is he/she a registered sex offender? These issues may make the professional relationship very difficult.

Review sites

Review sites like Glassdoor are great to learn more about a company’s culture, work environment, salary ranges, benefits, and employee satisfaction. You can also find valuable information on professional networks like LinkedIn. If a former or current employee of the company is part of your network, reach out and ask for an honest opinion. Generally speaking, you can disregard the best and worst opinions as they may be biased. Focus on those in the middle as they tend to be more accurate. Checking a business’s social media profiles can also help you determine how they relate to angry customers or direct competition.

Before you accept an offer

The interview process is over, and you got an offer! Before you rush to accept:

  1. Determine if you need to negotiate your salary and/or benefits. Women are especially prone to avoid salary negotiations, to their own detriment.
  2. Ask about room for professional growth. Regardless of how tempting the offer is now, you can regret taking a dead-end job.
  3. Are you comfortable with the company culture? Do you like your potential coworkers?
  4. Will you have opportunities to learn?
  5. Talk about the transition and onboarding process, and ask if there is a probation process in which both parties can test the waters before making a final commitment.

Ask as many questions as you need. Remember that, once you have an offer, “the ball is in your court.” The company believes you are the best fit and trusts your abilities to fulfill the position. It’s time to negotiate until you are comfortable with the offer and job conditions. But don’t take too long. A company that extends an offer needs to fill the position as soon as possible, so if you take too long to answer or if your demands are deemed unreasonable, they may withdraw the offer.

Having as much information as you can find on a potential employer can also give you leverage to better negotiate your job conditions, so don’t miss any steps of the due diligence process.

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About Nicole Moody'

Nicole Moody is widely recognised as one of the most senior and experienced communication professionals in Perth, Western Australia. She is the Managing Director of Perth-based Hunter Communications. Her extensive career has involved working in Australia and London in the highest levels of public relations, government and journalism. With her passion for communication and a commitment to achieving outstanding results for clients, Nicole has built her client base at Hunter to include some of Western Australia’s biggest brands and companies. Along with managing strategic communications issues, Nicole has advised on numerous ‘front page’ media issues, crisis management and recovery, and brand reputation and management. A highly experienced and results-driven communications manager, Nicole brings the same energy and passion that has made her a multi award-winner and leader in her field to every job and every client.

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