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What You Should Know About an Employer That Isn't Found in a Job Description

Identifying good employers, positive work spaces and learning about company culture is an important part of a evaluating job or internship options. What you learn about a company can help you decide if you would enjoy the work, environment and management.


Scams or ponzi schemes disguised as jobs are certainly out there. Here are a few ways you can quickly distinguish a legitimate employer from a scam.

  • Can you find a physical address for the company? Do you have contact information that includes a phone number and legitimate email address for them? Is there any indication they are located outside the United states?

  • Explore their website and evaluate if it is well developed and includes information on their company, products or services.

  • Employers should never ask for money from you. If they require you to write checks or make payments for the company that is usually a red flag. You should never have to use a personal bank account for an employer to do business or make payments on an employer’s behalf.

  • Ask yourself, does this sound too good to be true? Does the pay offered seem high for the work requirements? Employers who promise a huge payday for minimal work are often indicators that something is off.

Handshake Company Reviews

Because of a trust score and the screening process we use in the Career Center to approve all employers and positions on Handshake, you can rest assured the postings and companies represented on the job board are legitimate, professional organizations. In addition, Handshake recently implemented a new tool that allows students (from Lehigh and any other university using Handshake) to review companies based on their experiences working or interning there. Read the reviews here on Handshake.

  1. Click the “Jobs” tab from the top menu

  2. Click “Employers” on right side

  3. Check the box “Employers with Reviews” from the Category filter

Or click “Reviews” from any company profile (or leave your own!)

Online Tools

Many websites offer employer reviews and information. Here are a few popular sites that have a variety of feedback from past or current employees.

Did you Google it?

It may sound simple, but an effective way to learn about recent articles, announcements, opinion pieces or updates can come from googling a company’s name and clicking the “News” option. This information can help you better understand who they are, what is happening now and even help you develop questions to ask at an interview.

“I read Olympus is developing a new camera geared toward sports photography. Is that a project an new hire would be able to contribute to? How does this project connect to some of your 2019 company goals?”

Social Media Clues

The type of content, messaging, even the platform a company chooses to use can tell you about their company culture. Visit the social media sites and “follow” companies on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Youtube, and others. Look for hashtags or trending topics associated with the company.

To find a company’s social media pages, check for links on their websites or search the social media site for a company name.

Based on what you see and learn from social media ask:

  • Who seems to be their target audience for their social media messaging?

  • Do I find their content interesting, relevant or smart?

  • What images are represented of the workplace or employees?

  • Do their represented values or initiatives align with the work I want to be doing?

  • What inspires me or makes me interested in working with the company?

Interview Prep

After you have researched and explored a company, use the information to help you prepare for an interview in both asking and answering questions.

Q: Why do you want to work for our company?

A: Based on what I learned from the company blog and values statement, I learned your company has x, y and z and that represents an environment that compliments my skills and career interests.

A: I was impressed to see your company has recently been named (title here), and I have confidence that the work I do there will align with my own goals and career aspirations.

A: It’s important to me that an employer _____________, and based on what I learned from your twitter posts, I am confident we share similar values.

Q: What questions do you have for us?

A: Some of your previous interns mentioned they were able to work on ______ projects, is that still an option for 2019 interns?

A: I recently read an article where your president mentioned a new focus/product in the area of ___________. Is that something this position will be working toward?

A: I know several Lehigh alumni are already working for your organization. Is there a mentor program available for new hires that would allow me to work with or learn from them?

Need more help?

For additional resources for researching an employer check out the information, links and attachments on the Handshake resource page, Job and Internship tile - especially the Company Research Quick Guide attachment found there.

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