LinkedIn is a huge resource for job seekers. It’s where hiring managers, HR professionals, and recruiters are looking. That makes it where you want to be found, so don’t take what I am about to say as an indictment of LinkedIn. You DO want to use LinkedIn. Make no mistake about that. (Learn more about how to do that here.)
You just don’t want to use it for much company research. So far, there isn’t much useful company information on LinkedIn. I don’t have inside information on whether that will change.
For now, you’re better of using Glassdoor.com to research possible target companies and then coming back to LinkedIn to make connections in the company or companies you choose to focus on.
In case you haven’t used it, here’s a primer on Glassdoor. It pretty much delivers on what it promises: An inside look at jobs and companies, pulling information from more than 20,000 job sites, newspapers, and company career pages.
Let’s say you’re looking for film production jobs in San Diego.
1. Make sure the left field says “Jobs.”
2. Enter”Film Production” and “San Diego” into the job title and location fields.
Four jobs in three companies appear:
- Sr. Cinematic Project Manager for Playstation (temporary)
- Production Assistant and Graphic Designer for Invisible Children
- Process Engineer for Saint-Gobain
Company 1: Sony Playstation
Click on the link labeled “82 reviews” for a deeper dive of Sony Playstation: The company gets three of five stars overall; 48% of employees recommend this company to a friend. (Hmmm. Less than half. That might be a red flag.) The satisfaction spectrum breakdown of the 82 reviews is a bell curve:
- Very Satisfied: 6
- Satisfied: 18
- Neutral – OK: 27
- Dissatisfied: 19
- Very Dissatisfied: 11
Scroll down for recent (the newest is two days ago) opinions and ratings of the company from current and former employees. The consensus appears to be that it was a great place to work, but a management change turned that around. Several reviews mention toxic environment and employee leaves to regain perspective. (Pretty big red flag.) The only rave reviews among the first 10 appear to be from an intern and a marketing person.
At the top of the page, click the overview tab to find office photos, a salary graph, Facebook link to employee pages, interview questions, and recent news.
In the right-hand column, you will see other suggested jobs in your local area, a Twitter feed, and links to other pages in Glassdoor having to do with “featured” companies that pay for an “Enhanced Company Profile.”
If Playstation piques your interest, you can follow them at the top of the page.
Company 2: Invisible Children
Let’s look at the next company. At the top of the page, make sure Companies is in the left search field. Type “Invisible Children” in the center field and San Diego in the right field. Click Search.
In contrast to Playstation, Invisible Children receives 4.5 stars, meaning employees are “very satisfied.” However, there are only two reviews.
Click the overview link.
The reviews (one 10 days old; the other in 2010) provide insight into a young, energetic company that may lack some direction. This could be a very appealing environment for someone who craves contributing to the creative juices that appear to be flowing here and who doesn’t care if they have a big paycheck or a life outside the office.
There is no salary information or office photos for Invisible Children, only one interview experience, and about 40 open positions, many of them internships.
Company 3: Saint-Gobain
Saint-Gobain, a well-established global firm, receives nearly three and one-half of five stars from 29 employee reviews, the most recent about two weeks old. The overview tab reveals the company received two awards in 2009 for Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles (Gold), National Business Group on Health; and Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations List, from Corporate Knights.
You will also find salary information and quite extensive descriptions of interviews with mainly positive reactions. No office photos appear. The company has 724 open positions, although not all in film production.
At some point, Glassdoor will tell you your trip through their site was just a sample, and now, you need to sign up, either through Facebook, as recommended, or with your email and password. Then, you can complete your profile and fill out a job search which will give you the opportunity to receive email notices of jobs in the career category and location you specify. You can change this information anytime by clicking on My Account in the top right corner of the screen.
This sample search has given us a view of three very different companies evoking widely varied responses from employees. Surprisingly, there were no rants against companies by disgruntled employees. Negative comments that do appear seem well thought out rather than reactionary.
Another thing I didn’t see was a way to track the information you gather about companies. You can do this by using JibberJobber.com or StartWire.com alongside Glassdoor to track your data, thoughts, and intentions about a company.
If you have no idea why you would want to research companies would like more information on the process, contact me at Jeri@WorkwriteResumes.com to see how Job Search Coaching could help you shorten your search.