Hey Lifehacker, When you’re applying for a job, there is quite a bit of emphasis placed on your own references — but no one seems to do a reference check on their potential bosses. If you were going to work for someone, wouldn’t you want to know what management style that person had? Should I ask for references from my potential employer? Thanks, Looking For Work
Dear Looking For Work,
Yes, it’s always a good idea to find out something about your potential employer. Looking for a job is not a one-way street — it isn’t the case that being offered a role should make you so pathetically grateful that you’ll ignore whether it’s a good fit.
That said, asking directly for references is going to come across as arrogant in a lot of cases. The main exception is if someone has actually headhunted you for a position — in that case, understanding the job and who you’ll be working with is a sensible thing to bring up.
Assuming that’s not the case, there are two key things you can do to investigate your employer’s “references”:
- Before going for the job, investigate the company online. Look for employees of the company on LinkedIn, and check out what people say about the firm on sites such as Quora.
- Prepare questions to ask in an interview (assuming you get one). This is your chance to find out more about the company, so don’t waste it. Check out our suggestions for the best questions a candidate can ask.
How have readers gone about checking out potential employers? Tell us in the comments.
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