It’s standard practice for an organization to conduct a background check on potential employees. Employee screens allow employers to ensure that everything they have been told by the candidate is correct, and will give them peace of mind that they are not hiring someone with a checkered past. Job seekers aren’t the only ones who should undergo a lengthy background check; candidates should also do their own research on the employer.
The only way you are going to know whether an organization is right for you is to research its history. You should start by looking for the following four pieces of information, which are readily available on the Internet:
- Finances: Is the organization you are looking to join in good financial shape? Most nonprofits are required to make their Internal Revenue Service Form 990s available online, which provide details on annual revenue and other financial information. Reviewing a Form 990 can give you a good idea if the organization is thriving or struggling.
- Organizational Culture: Is the organization making headlines for good reasons or have there been a lot of stories that allege questionable ethics? It goes without saying that you don’t want to work somewhere that has a shoddy ethics record, so make sure to do thorough research.
- Problem-Solving Record: Look for news stories to find out what has been the organization’s biggest challenge in the past year, and see what they did to solve it. Alternatively, you can simply ask the hiring manager should you get called in for a job interview.
- Layoffs: It’s impossible to say for sure that you won’t be let go at some point, but it’s a red flag if the organization has recently been laying workers off at high rates. Looking into the turnover rate is also a good idea, as this can be a good indicator of the quality of the workplace.