Advice on researching a potential new employer.
By Roger Lear
Great Insurance Jobs’ Cofounder Roger Lear is here to help you overcome obstacles to your career and job search. This month, he offers advice on researching a potential new employer.
"I was offered a great claims position at an insurance company, but when I tell my friends where I may be going, they tell me it is a horrible place to work. Is there a way to research this employer before I put in my two weeks’ notice?"
It sounds like your friends, whom I am assuming may be current coworkers, don’t want you to leave the team. I don’t blame them, and it’s hard for insurance companies to build great claims teams that get along. However, you have already interviewed and were offered the position. Evidently, through this process with the new company, you didn’t see the gates of hell or this job wouldn’t be a consideration.
But, to answer your question, you have many resources at your fingertips today to help—resources that claims professionals years ago wish they had. Moreover, it is also imperative to do this research before you interview, but that doesn’t always happen; especially if you go through a headhunter who may only tell you the good about a company or claims team. With that said, here is your employer research playbook:
Employer Review Sites. These sites allow you to go “inside” a company and get actual reviews from present and past employees. Just like the star ratings via Trip Advisor for restaurants and hotels, most employer review sites provide a rating system from employees who have no issues letting you know how they feel about the work environment, management, compensation, perks, job security, work/life balance, diversity, and actual salaries. The challenge for claims professionals with large insurance companies is narrowing the reviews down to your city. Trust me when I tell you that it’s possible the claims team in Seattle gets high reviews while the same company’s claims unit in Atlanta is a nightmare. I encourage you to use more than one site when reviewing employers. Glassdoor.com is the leader in this area, but I like CareerBliss.com and JobCrowd.com.
LinkedIn. Something most job seekers overlook entirely is the opportunity to ask people in your LinkedIn network about the company you’re interested in joining. We all have first-degree connections that we don’t know, and LinkedIn also gives you the opportunity to send messages to second- and third-degree connections. To find these connections, search for the company where you got the offer, click on its page, and on the right-hand side, it will show you all of the people who you are connected to and then a link to all the other employees. If you have some first degrees (whether you know them or not), you can send them a message and let them know you would like have a phone conversation with them. For second- and third-degree connections, go through and find some recently departed claims professionals and ask them for a phone conversation. These will be the key to figuring out if this is a job for you—and it has to be done on the phone to get the real skinny.
Other Social Media. Most insurance companies have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. The larger insurance companies have social media accounts dedicated to just employment. Examples of this are Travelers Careers on Twitter (@TRV_Careers) and GEICO on Facebook (@GEICOCareers). Either way, it gives you a chance to check these companies out through the comments, activity, events, community involvement, and anything else that may vital to you in a job. It is also a great way to connect and follow companies that you may want to work for in the future.
If you do these things, you will get an excellent idea of what it is like to work at a company—hopefully before an offer is extended.
Got a career question for Roger? Email him at Roger@GreatInsuranceJobs.com.