Below is a checklist of questions to help you:
Note: Keep track of your alignment notes in the Research & Alignment Notes page of the workbook or in your favorite note-taking app.
Read through the questions below and keep them in mind while you’re researching the role and company using the Research Checklist.
In this role, will you get to:
In this role, will you get to:
This checklist will walk you through how to research a company to find those potential areas of alignment. If you haven’t already, make sure to read through the Alignment Questions first, so you know what to be on the lookout for.
Note: You can find a reusable Research checklist in the workbook. You know, so you can feel that sense of accomplishment that comes from clicking on a checkbox. Click. Click. Ahhh.
Note: You can store your alignment notes in the Research & Alignment Notes page of the workbook or in whichever note-taking app you prefer.
🔲 Job Description
Read through the job description carefully. It's the first place where alignment points and red flags pop up. If you catch red flags there, then save yourself some time and pick another job to apply to. Make a note of anything popping out at you. You can dig into those later in your research if you’re not sure whether something is a good fit for you or not.
The job post below has lots of red flags that show you that this isn't going to be a great remote support job. Too many bullet points are not specific to a support job, and they start with "high school diploma" and "basic PC" skills before getting to anything related to support skills or experience. Run away from these like they're zombie-bears who haven't eaten delectable brains in weeks!
Check out their website to get a better idea of what the company does. (So many applicants have no idea what a company does and it‘s obvious in their applications and during interviews). You'll also start getting a sense of what the company culture is like. Look at their About page and any links at the top or bottom of their website for more intel.
Below is the "Life at Litmus" page on the Litmus website, a good sign about their culture. They not only mention their remote culture and building face-to-face relationships, but they also list a few of the articles they’ve written on working remotely.
🔲 Careers or Jobs page
In their careers or jobs page, you'll learn more about how they talk about their employees, their culture, and how they operate. I'd give bonus points to any company that talks about remote work, their culture, or their values without the usual corporate jargony nonsense. That can mean that they care about those things and want to make sure to attract people who also care about those things.
Here's a company that provides a public team manual for applicants to review and puts their Glassdoor rating right on their Careers page. That's a lot more than most companies do and shows they care about who they hire.
At this point, you should be getting an idea of their vibe, so it's a good time to check out their Glassdoor reviews.
Not all companies will have reviews, especially if they're smaller or younger. But it can be a solid resource for reviews, salary info, and even details on the interview process and the questions that get asked.
If you're still feeling good about this job, check out the company’s blog. Most companies post blog articles to help their customers or that are industry-related. If you’re interested in their industry, check to see if their views are in line with yours. Also, you'll want to seek out any blog posts that talk about what's going on internally at their company so you can get some more insights.
This company has a post on their blog about their latest retreat, which means they're happy to share with their customers about their culture and being remote. Good sign.
🔲 Social Media
You can also check out their social media to see if they have any internally-focused posts that you can add to your dossier on them. (Ha, love having a legit reason to use the word dossier. Though don't judge me on my use of "legit." It just sort of snuck in there.)
This company posted on Instagram about having daily check-ins with their team during the coronavirus pandemic. Not every company would do that or share about it.
Watch this 5-minute video to see the whole research process in action while researching a real job post.
Or as I like to think of it, enjoy this game of: 🎮 How Much Do I Like You? 🎮
If you want a job at a specific company, now or in the future, connecting with someone who works there can help you with more than just a referral. Now save the reflexive cringe. Because, luckily, connecting with someone doesn't mean sending awkward LinkedIn messages to everyone who works there. There's a way to make this as simple as sending a quick Slack message.
Lots of remote job boards have Slack communities specifically to help people looking for remote jobs talk to hiring managers and other remote peeps. If the job you want is posted to one of the job boards below, then there’s a chance the hiring manager or someone else at the company is part of their Slack community. Most are free to join but, because of their high value, some communities are starting to charge a fee to join.
If the hiring manager is in one of the communities you joined and you’re not sure what to ask them, here’s a list for that. Ask them:
If you’re going to ask if your experience is a good fit, DO NOT send the hiring manager your resume and expect them to tell you based on that. Give them a short overview of your support background and explain why you’re not sure if that experience is a good fit. Make it as easy as possible for them to answer your questions.
Please, please don’t ask them about things that are covered in the job description or are easily available on their company website/careers page. This is like when a customer asks you a question that’s clearly covered in the knowledge base (verbatim), you share the link to the article, and they come back and ask you the same question.
I can’t tell you how many times people have emailed me to ask me to give them more information about a job (that’s it, just the general question) or asked where they can apply for the job when the job description and application are publicly available on our jobs page. Nope. Delete.