Starting a new job is always stressful and challenging, and we want to make sure our coworkers make it easier for us, right? Before accepting a job, it can be very beneficial to at least delve a little bit into the company and the people you will be surrounding yourself with on a daily basis.
Your future colleagues will significantly affect your work experience, so it might be helpful to find info on anyone at your new job. In a survey done on American employees, about 70% of stated they dislike their job largely due to unpleasant workers. A company can be “good” in general, however, most companies have at least one person who behaves unprofessionally and creates an unsafe or uncomfortable work environment. Nearly 95% of companies have reported that they have had employees engage in “deviant” behaviors such as harassment, theft, fraud, vandalism, and absenteeism.
The reality of harassment in the workplace
Sexual harassment is a huge issue in the workplace, especially for women. Uncomfortable sexual comments, gestures, and touching are just some examples of sexual harassment that can be faced. Many men and women who have a higher “status” in their company may feel it grants them privilege and power over their colleagues. Sometimes, this attitude causes people in positions of power to feel that they can do whatever they want without consequences.
Unfortunately, regardless of policies and regulations put into place to avoid this kind of behavior, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, violence, theft, and other offenses happen often in the workplace. Retail workers are at a high risk of verbal and sexual harassment due to the variety of customers who visit the store, but coworkers are also common perpetrators. One of the saddest factors contributing to workplace violence and harassment is the fact that both men and women are afraid to report it for fear of being fired. It is crucial to know what kind of setting you will be going into if you opt to accept a job offer.
Signs of a bad work environment
An important factor to look for is the company’s recruitment vetting policy towards finding info on anyone who applied. If your background wasn’t checked, chances are nobody else’s was either. In addition, there is a very high likelihood that the employees who have been there for a long time have never had a background check run on them. This is because the means to run thorough background checks have only been around for the past couple of decades, whereas many employees have been with companies for much longer than that. Also, keep in mind that many companies don’t conduct recurring background checks, meaning they are not aware of anything malicious the employees could have done since the time of hire.
Where to find info on anyone at your job
Many states and counties have databases of all civil and criminal records via an online portal. Some are statewide, such as Colorado’s, whereas others are county level. Most of the available portals are free of charge and user-friendly. Some local courts also allow people to call and request a criminal search for a certain person’s name. Websites like www.mugshots.com can also be a good starting point to find info on anyone at work.
Social media is a fantastic tool for investigating prospective colleagues. A simple glance at someone’s Facebook page can clue you in on a future colleague’s personality without even meeting in person. It is possible you might find a potential colleague spreading gossip about their coworkers, which would obviously be a red flag. A simple Google search of the individual’s name in quotes can also be beneficial.
LinkedIn is another great tool when considering accepting a job. You can find people who work for the company, and you can possibly see things like the person’s past employers, education history, hobbies, and maybe even a picture. Don’t be shy – reach out to employees if you would like to ask about their experiences. Ask former employees why they left. Contact current employees and inquire whether or not they would recommend the position at this time. Asking questions to current and former employees directly can give you much more insight into the company’s environment.
How to investigate your future company
Aside from finding info on individual colleagues, you can also investigate the companies that offered you a job. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates every business in the country, and you can search the government site for court proceedings. Many county courts provide an online database where you can search for any civil lawsuits that include your future employers.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) provides a “grade” (A to F) to businesses, and employees and consumers can also leave complaints and issues for the public to read. Additionally, services like Dun & Bradstreet can give you a detailed review of the company for a fee. There are also different places you can check for specific types of businesses such as the American Bar Association for law firms. You can also search for forums that may have employees posting “gossip” regarding the company.
Other simple and free places to look before accepting a job with a company are websites like www.glassdoor.com and www.indeed.com. These websites likely have company profiles and users who commented on their experiences. Of course, many reviews are from angry former employees looking to retaliate; however, if you notice a trend of negativity in a majority of the posts, it may be time to reconsider.
Do your due diligence and feel secure
Harassment and abuse in the workplace are real, and research suggests that much of it is hard to control. Regardless what kind of job you are applying for, it is important to make sure you are surrounding yourself with decent people. Ignore others when they tell you that you are being “paranoid” by finding info on anyone currently working at your company, as it can end up protecting you. Investigate the company and employees so you can be confident that you are making the right decision when selecting your employer.