Doing Due Diligence on the Company

due-diligence-signA member wrote to us saying he’d withdrawn himself from consideration from a job because of what he’d read on a website that allows people to post anonymous reviews on companies. He was in the second round of interviews and felt the interviewers were being evasive when he asked about the company, so he looked them up on Glassdoor and found “some very convincing and damning reviews of the company.” He immediately withdrew himself from consideration for the position and now wants to know if recruiters visit sites like that and if other candidates do what he did.

Executive recruiter Dave Dart offered his thoughts on the topic:

As recruiters, we are generally pretty good at judging both client companies and candidates. We ask tons of questions designed to determine the strength of the company, disposition of the hiring manager, and overall ratings of the company. If we get a sense that something is off we do additional research before we engage our people, spend our time and exhaust our resources where there is a likelihood of the position going unfilled.

Sites like Glassdoor give all of us a bit of insight into the companies. The problem is that these sites are more often visited as a place to vent than a place to brag. The information provided there should give reason to pause and align one’s thoughts. If there is specific negative commentary pertaining to the person one is interviewing with then further research should be done. I do not think that one should make their decisions only on this information. I also do not believe that red flags should be ignored.

The ultimate decision on where to work lies on the candidate’s shoulders. That said they should always do additional research beyond the obvious and Glassdoor should not be left off the list. What to do with the information once found is the tricky part. It’s anyone’s guess how accurate the report is.

ExecuNet founder Dave Opton offered his thoughts on the topic:

There is no question that when you are interviewing it is important to keep in mind that it should be a two-way process, meaning that just as the organization is trying to get a good fix on you, since it is your professional work life, you owe it to yourself to do some due diligence as well. ┬áIn fact, it is probably even more important for you than the company. Why? Because if you make the decision to accept an offer should one be extended and things don’t turn out as you had hoped, the time you have invested in that enterprise is gone forever. The organization got along without before you were hired and probably will continue after you are gone.

The issue here is what steps should you take in conducting your due diligence, and I think there are far better sources available than social media sites that allow people to post comments in anonymity. Comments (good or bad) that are not verifiable as to who posted them certainly come under the heading of “red flag” to say the least.

I would invest my time in trying to talk with people who currently work at the organization or who have worked there previously, and there are any number of resources available that you could use to that end including LinkedIn and our own. In addition, I would closely follow the business press to see if what you are reading squares with what you have heard during the interviewing process.



William Flamme

William Flamme

William Flamme is ExecuNet's Associate Director of Content Marketing, where he develops engaging job search, career path, and leadership insight to build ExecuNet's brand recognition as the leader in senior-level executive job search and all matters career.

He delivers executive-level content across the various properties under the ExecuNet brand, amplifying the power of ExecuNet's expert voices and shaping the content strategy.

Prior to joining ExecuNet in 2008, Will earned a master's degree in education and taught fifth grade and sixth grade. As a teacher, he deepened his appreciation for the written word and mastered skills necessary for managing writers who sometimes view deadlines as homework. It is his training as an educator which allows Will to take complex ideas and make them simple for busy executives to understand and to execute.

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