At my company, ProLango Consulting Inc, I see clients that get excited about job descriptions that look interesting on the surface but aren't a good fit long term. Desperately wanting to become employed they accept the new opportunity only to find out that the company culture is just not working for them and they either terminate their employment or are fired for being a misfit.
Besides the physical experience of losing employment, all over again, the psychological impact is often devastating and similar to that of trauma or the feeling of loss.
Why waste time targeting a company, customizing your resume, finding and networking with the right decision makers, preparing for the interview and even negotiating salary when it's just not the right opportunity in the first place?
Is there a way to avoid this? How can you decide in advance if a company is a good fit for you?
Conduct secondary research. If you haven't yet, take a look at a site called glassdoor.com. It shows anonymous reviews by both current and former employees of the company. Since the information shared is anonymous, chances are high that you'll get details beyond what a current employee would feel sharing without running the risk of jeopardizing their career.
Also consider looking up the company on Google. Reviewing customer feedback, lawsuits, media coverage, third-party blogs and tweets could give you a better perspective on the company. This type of research is often called secondary research.
Engage in primary research. Look up former and current employees on linkedin.com and reach out to them to setup an informational meeting. In my experience working with hundreds of clients I've noticed that former employees are more willing than current employees to share the truth about what it's really like to work at the company.
Ask about the culture, management, work environment and anything else that is important to you. What is work-life balance like? Is the company pro-collaboration or micromanaged? This information can help you decide whether you wold really enjoy or excel in working at this kind of environment. This type of research is often called primary research.
Compare your career goals and values with that of the prospective company. Now that you've gathered the necessary information from these sources it's time to make your final decision. Is this company aligned with your values or is there a major possible conflict? If you truly want work-life balance do yourself a favor and avoid working at companies that have an extreme burnout rate.
To find your values ask "When it comes to my career, what's most important to me?"
List your top 3 - 5 values and make sure to find companies that will fulfill your needs. After all isn't that the primary purpose of our careers?