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Breaking Career Choice Asymmetry

One of the questions which come to the mind of every job seeker is about how to verify the real culture and value system of the organization? This question is comes on the mind of even a most adaptable talent.

Should she/he rely on Ex-Vendors, Current Vendors, Social Media, Current Employees, or Ex-Employees?

There are great merits in reaching out to Ex- vendors, Current Vendors, Social Media, Current-Employees and Ex-Employees of the organization in which you are planning to make your next move.

Let’s look at each one of these categories and the value of their feedback. Each one of them is important but some are more valuable than others due to the psychology of feedback and various positive and negative interests associated with each one of them.

1.    Ex-Employees

The best information comes through Ex-Employees. The manner in which employees were treated during exit and whether organization maintained a healthy relationship with them post-exit or not, gives you a better litmus test of organization's value system than how they were treated while they were serving. Additionally, Past Employees don't have any baggage or fear of withholding true information.

2.    Social Media Platforms

The second-best information comes from social media and platforms like Glassdoor. However, you need to be careful of segregating the information and feedback which has been directly posted/promoted by the organization’s official handles. You will find a lot of glossy make-up there and hence should be better avoided. Look for what individuals are saying from their personal social handles. Even in platforms like Glassdoor avoid glossy and similar-sounding feedbacks. At times these are promoted using current employees. One way you will find them is that there will be sentences and words which are repeated. Typically they will be similar looking positively worded 1-3 liners.

Psychology behind giving feedback on social handle tells that generally two types of individuals take efforts to post: one who is psychologically positively stimulated while other is psychologically negatively stimulated. This knowledge will help you weed out managed feedback.

3.    Current Employees

The third best information comes from current employees. However, this information is not very reliable because of the following reasons:

a) It takes courage for a customer to accept that they have bought a wrong product if they have no other choice other than to stay with it. To preserve their own self-respect, they have to boost the image of this product.

b) There could be negative consequences/fear of sharing the right information

c) I am in a soup; you also come and enjoy the soup syndrome. 

So which group of current employees to believe and probably which one to discount?

Answer to this probably lies in these observations:

a.      Does the organization encourage and promote the robust social identity of employees?

If yes then views of current employees can also be relied upon.

 b.     Does the organization tolerate diverse and differing views from Employees on social and professional platforms?

 If yes then believe the current employees. One good way is to do a text analysis of posts from leadership teams of the organization. If all of them uses similar words and sentences, then probably it's a fake social identity creation. Don't believe in this case.

 c.      Do you see views from Employees across levels on a diverse topic or is it only glossy celebrations?

 If the first part is true, believe current employees views and if the second part is true don't believe views of the current employees.

4.    Ex-Vendors

This group is difficult to find but still, you can get a good holistic view of the organization. However, this is fraught with the problem of future commercial interests of this group. If you can get access you can get a better view of the organization you are considering.

5.    Current-Vendors

This group can also give you a piece of very good information, but their commercial interests can impact the quality of information and feedback

One of the groups which I haven’t touched upon is Current and Past Customers. You will get some very useful information like Market Image, Brand sustainability, Product quality, and long-term sustainability. However, for career decisions, you will require little more insights than what you get from here.

In the next post I will write about American Economist and Noble Prize winner (2001) George Akerlof’s concept of “Lemon Market” and it’s used case application to recruitment market. That post will also dwell upon how to solve Lemon Market problem in Talent Space.

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