This is the first blog in a new LegalCareerView.com series on employer due diligence, the importance of which for legal job seekers cannot be over-emphasized. We live in an era when law practice is undergoing massive disruption thanks to technology, globalization and political turmoil. Staid and formerly stable organizations are subject to sudden uncertainty resulting in reorganization and, in the worst case, abrupt demise. Law firms, companies and even government agencies and nonprofits are not exempt from upheaval.
The American Bar Association says that 21st century law graduates will change jobs seven times during their careers. If that does not put a premium on doing employer due diligence, I don’t know what does. With organizations suddenly merging, reorganizing and even imploding, it behooves job seekers to find out as much as they can about prospective employer stability and viability before signing on to what might be a very temporary stopping-off point, if not a soon-to-sink ship.
What Constitutes Due Diligence?
“Due diligence” is an expression that arises most often in the context of a transaction between a seller and a buyer of a business. It consists of an investigation or audit of a potential investment or acquisition by the buyer. Due diligence is designed to confirm all of the material facts of the transaction. The buyer wants to make sure that its investment is sound and supportable, that it is not about to buy a pig in a poke.
In the employer-employee context, both parties are buyers. Savvy employers perform considerable due diligence before they make an employment offer. You need to do the same investigation before you accept a job offer.
Why Do It?
When you contemplate taking a job with an employer, you want to achieve a comfort level about this important decision you are about to make, if possible. Performing a due diligence investigation of your prospective employer is an essential component of the job-hunting process. Employer due diligence is something that every job seeker must perform—but rarely does—before accepting a position. This is one time when you should be one of the few that goes against the grain.
Lack of a due diligence investigation all too often leads to a bad workplace situation that might have been avoided, not to mention a possible adverse effect on your entire career.
Don’t let you career hang on a hope and a smile (or a wing and a prayer, if you prefer that metaphor).
While you will likely never be able to get answers to every one of your questions, you will nevertheless be able to make a much better decision about your career direction if you are armed with as much due diligence information as you can muster.
Next: Employer Due Diligence, Part 2-What Do You Need to Know?