Job seekers who have a clear idea of which employers they want to work for tend to find jobs quicker than job seekers that are keeping their options open and still figuring things out. There is power in focus.

One of the questions I constantly get asked is, “How do I choose an employer to target without knowing what their culture is like, how much they pay, etc.?”

One resource I like to refer people to is Glassdoor.com. Founded by Bob Hohman and Rich Barton in 2007, Glassdoor.com gives job seekers behind-the-scenes information of companies you might want to work for.

In June 2008, there were roughly 250 companies listed on the site. Now two years later, there are well over 80,000 companies (in one hundred countries) that a job seeker can research.

All content is user-generated by current and former employees. On Glassdoor you can gain insight into the pros and cons of working at a specific company, their salary range, photos, and information about the company’s interviewing process. Job seekers can use this data to help make decisions of which companies to target, prepare for an interview, or gauge whether they’re receiving a fair offer. (Just remember that because the information is user-generated, you may be seeing an incomplete and sometimes, inaccurate picture. Like all user-generated content, you’ll want to take it with a grain of salt and use it as just one of your research tools.)

Tips for job seekers
In order to be successful in today’s tight job market, I suggest targeting at least 10 employers and developing a plan to meet the right decision makers. As long as the company has 50 or more employees, there is a strong chance you’ll find the employer on Glassdoor.

Once you have your top 10 list selected, start setting up informational meetings at these companies. You can use tools such as LinkedIn to find contacts. If you get an interview, research the user reviews and see if you can find tips about the lingo, acronyms, interview questions, and the company’s style of communication. This will help you feel more confident and prepared during the interview and help you develop rapport easier.

If you’re lucky to get an offer, see what you can learn about the salary and bonus structure on Glassdoor before accepting your next opportunity.

What other tools have you used to research companies? Tell us in the comments below.

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