Back again with another installment from the "Expat Series" and this time, today's topic came to me via email. Desi, part of our online fam asked, how did I know my recent job offer was the real thing and not some form of pyramid scheme, identity theft, or worse?! It was a great question and one I really wanted to be sure I followed up with here, as I might imagine many of you might be wondering the same. Of course everyone will say "do your research." But what does that really entail? What exactly did I look for when vetting my new company? ... Below I give a few short specifics:
In deciding if my new offer at the time was real or not, I did lots and I mean LOTS of research. This is your professional career and physical safety we're talking about here! ... It's often said on twitter that "Google is your friend," and I truly believe that. Initially? You want to look up the following:
- The Recruiter - In this part of the fact checking process, you want to confirm that they are who they claim to be. Do they actually work for the company they claim to? Go to their supposed company's site and see if they are listed among employees ... If they are, does the position they mentioned to you match what's listed? ... Check out this recruiter on Linkedin (find out why you need a Linkedin account here). How professional does their page look? Are they active in their field? Is their company listed in their profile/bio? Pro-tip: If your account isn't set to private, make sure you log out before looking up this person on Linkedin. That way, you won't show up in the recruiter's list of recent accounts viewing their profile ... You're welcome. LOL!
- The Company - So you've vetted the recruiter and everything seems to check out. Next, I took a look at the company and the job offer. Is this a large company with a solid amount of employees or a small hole in the wall? I don't know about you, but I definitely don't have the time to fly half-way around the globe only to find out a company's budget is skimpy and they really can't afford to pay me. Basically, I'm looking for a large online presence and possibly write-ups from reputable sources / media outlets to confirm this company's legitimacy ... Also? Does this company have any fraud or worker's rights complaints against them? I used the company's name and keywords like "fraud, scam, court case, pending litigation, etc" in a Google search to see what, if anything came up. Thankfully, the responses I received for my prospective company were clean ... Lastly, is anyone from your field connected to this company? Know anyone who works(ed) there? Having a personal connection to the company within your network can definitely take some of the apprehension of moving abroad off your shoulders. If not? Get opinions from current and former employees via online site “Glassdoor.” Think of it as Yelp reviews, for employers. Every job has pros and cons. Again, I wanted to get a sense of what I was getting into before even moving into the interview phase.
Trust Your Gut
When I finally felt comfortable with what I did (or didn't) find, I went forward with the interview process and provided more information on myself. All in all, Do NOT be afraid to investigate and ask potential employers questions! International employers are actually expecting them as it's so routine and part of the process of courting new employees ... Inquiries could range from asking for more info about the company, the position being recruited for, etc. The only thing I will say? Like any job, during the interview process, wait until you have an official offer to bring up money or questions about benefits.
Ultimately? You have as much right to ask questions, particularly when it entails an international move, as they do ... Just like meeting a hot new guy or girl, you and this potential company are feeling each other out. If anything doesn’t feel right? Always trust your gut and pass on that particular opportunity. There's just too many safety concerns and honestly? Waaaay too much paperwork to get somewhere only to find out, it's not at all what you thought it would be.
Hopefully those details are helpful : ). I’m posting the next part of the “Expat Series” in about two weeks. Meantime, keep the questions coming! Comment below and let me know what's on your mind.
'Til then, as always ... the Journey Continues!