By now you're probably well aware that employers will Google you, check your online profiles, and in many cases, run a criminal background check, a credit check, and ask you to take a drug test before they hire you. (They might as well give you a colonoscopy while they're at it.) A bad hire costs a company big bucks, so they'd be foolish not to use all the information available. The same logic applies to you as a job candidate. Due diligence about your potential employers can reduce the chance that you'll unwittingly sign on with a first-class ass of a boss.
We hate to think it could happen to us, but bullying, discrimination, hostility, sexual intimidation, threats, and retaliation are facts of life in some workplaces.
If you're serious about a particular employer, find out all you can about your would-be boss. Search Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and sites like eBossWatch, which is aimed at helping job candidates find the truth about prospective employers. (Here's their list of the Worst Bosses of 2009.)
In a post about this topic on the blog One Day One Job, writer Willy Franzen provided a helpful list of who and what you should be looking for when researching an employer:
People You Should Research:
- The company
- Their executive team
- Your interviewer(s)
- Potential co-workers
- Any employees at the company
- People at competing companies
Things You Should Look For:
- Personal commentary
- Professional commentary
- Social network profiles
- Customer rants
- Employee rants
- The news
- Previous employment history
- Company financial conditions
- Quotes in interviews
The sad truth is, desperation often leads you to ignore your gut feelings and red flags about a prospective employer. When you're running out of money, you think you can tolerate anything as long as there's a paycheck at the end of the week. So, you accept the job despite your misgivings, and almost immediately you realize your boss is a jerk.
But once you're hired, you get all sorts of pressure from all sorts of people (yourself included) to stick it out, put up with it for now, and make the best of a bad situation. Bad idea.
The stress of working for an unstable, unpredictable, volatile boss who's a bully, a bigot, a harasser, or just a micromanaging nut job can permeate your life. It affects your confidence, your job performance, your physical and mental health, and your personal relationships.
It's far easier to avoid the quicksand than to extricate yourself once you're in it up to your elbows.
Have you ever dodged a bullet by finding out about a toxic boss before you accepted the job? Or, have you come to realize that your new boss is a pathological jerk? Share your story by posting a comment below!
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