Natalia Shpitula

Edited at July 13, 2022

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How to Check the Reputation of Your Employer: Recommendations of an Experienced Applicant

A few months ago, I faced the need for a new job. Although I am far from being a newbie in IT and have reached the senior developer level, it was not so easy to fulfill my plans. 

The desire to quickly find a highly paid, interesting job almost played a cruel joke on me – I had to deal with dishonest employers and even outright scammers. Later, I found a lot of info on this subject on the net. For example, Better Business Bureau reports that losses due to job search fraud have increased by 27% over the past few years. This is primarily due to the increased demand for remote work as a result of the pandemic.

Thanks to my experience, I managed to avoid employment in such organizations. In this article, I have prepared for you some recommendations on how to check the employer’s reputation before accepting a job offer.

Check the “Black Lists” of Employers

trust heand man and woman

Today you can find many company ratings compiled by employees, specialized rating agencies, the media, and financial companies. There are also resources where you can read detailed reviews about the work in a particular structure.

The main thing, relying on such “black” and “white” lists, is to trust only reliable sources. Firstly, negative reviews may come from disgruntled former employees. Secondly, from competitors’ intrigues — producing “on-demand” reviews has become a common thing. Positive comments can also be written this way.

If the information on the network is not enough or is doubtful, there is one more option left: to find out the opinion from friends who also worked in the company or somehow encountered in their professional activities. 

Look at the Company’s Work From the Inside

Of course, it is much easier for an applicant for the sales manager position to test themselves as a “mystery shopper” and check the work from the inside. But this is also possible for a senior or middle developer. 

Call the number listed on the website. If you cannot get through on the first call or you are switched between managers and have to listen to music on hold for several minutes, these are red flags. Perhaps the company has staff problems – a lack of employees or they aren’t competent enough.

people ring

Check the Legality of the Organization

Public resources that contain open legal entities databases can help you check whether a potential employer is in the process of liquidation or has tax debts. 

To do this, you need to know:

  • in which state the company is registered;
  • its registration number;
  • the exact organization name if the data from the previous paragraph is unknown.

Also, such sites contain information about the founders and owners of companies. Mention of them can be searched in the media and social networks. If the leaders were in any scandals, journalists wrote about it. 

Track the Company’s Lawsuits

You can find data on completed and open court cases online and often for free. To search, consult legal reference systems or arbitration court resources. 

These sites have the following info:

  • whether your potential employer was a plaintiff, defendant, or third party in any case;
  • what is the essence of the conflict;
  • the outcome of the proceedings, if already completed.

Pay attention to the number of such incidents. If there were a lot of them, and they all happened in a short time, this may indicate the dishonesty of the company’s management. 

If the organization is doing well, and its name does not appear in a lawsuit, you can dig deeper and look for info about the participation of company leaders as individuals. There is a possibility that the court could prohibit the subject from conducting entrepreneurial activities for some reason. In this case, their signatures and decisions have no legal force.

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Monitor Compliance With Labor Laws

Incorrect registration of a software developer, team lead, or another specialist, denial of legal leave, delayed payment – this is no complete list of examples of labor law violations by an employer. Finding out about these facts before going to work can be difficult because no one wants to share such mismatches with a candidate even at the interview. 

Of course, you can try to collect the necessary information first hand – interview friends, read reviews on the network. But the reliability of such information is questionable. There is a way out: information about non-compliance with labor laws is often freely available on the websites of executive authorities. 

I recommend doing a data search between several interviews. It will help you compare information received from HR and found on the Internet. There will be an opportunity to ask questions during the final interview. Of course, not directly, but somewhat veiled, what if your fears are groundless. Draw your conclusions only after that.

law Man

Trust Your Personal Impression

When searching for jobs for developers, pay attention to the smallest details:

  • The ad must contain very detailed information – IT project that you have to work on, the necessary knowledge and skills, and the specialist’s level. If all the requirements are described unclearly, the promised salary is several times higher than the average for the market, or there is no complete contact information – this is a reason for doubt.
  • During a telephone conversation with a recruiter, it is important to get full information about the responsibilities, projects for developers, salary, and requirements for applicants. If the person refuses to provide this information, promising that they will announce all the terms only during a personal meeting, this should also alert you.
  • A conversation at an interview in a self-respecting company should be business-oriented. If the conversation begins with a discussion about the applicant’s dreams and plans, or you are offered to fill out many unnecessary forms and applications – this is a sure sign that something is wrong with the employer.

Finding a job in the field of software engineering is not easy. According to Statista analytics, the IT market is expanding, companies and start-up projects appear on the market in large numbers, so it is essential to know how to check a potential employer so that you are not disappointed in your choice after employment.

Faq

What is the first thing a middle and senior developer should look for when looking for a job?

Since such specialists have already worked on different projects and with different customers/companies, they objectively evaluate vacancy texts and the first impression of communicating with recruiters. If there are no concerns at this stage, they can move on to assessing the company’s reputation.

What should you watch out for during an interview?

A large number of candidates, poor interview organization, a lot of unnecessary applications and questionnaires, unclear information about the requirements for the candidate and their duties, inflated wages. All this is a reason to check the info about the company in different sources.

If we talk about compliance with labor laws – why is paying wages in an envelope a minus?

Although it may seem that the format of receiving payments is not important (the employee will still receive earned funds), in fact, this is not the case. After all, the size of the future pension will depend precisely on the officially received salary.

What company information is publicly available online?

You can find information about the company’s legality and its leaders, tax debts, open/closed proceedings, compliance with labor laws. Employer ratings are also presented on the Internet, but the reliability of such information is doubtful.

July 13, 2022

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