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There’s nothing worse than spending valuable time following a job lead only to discover it’s not anything like you thought it would be or worse, that it’s unethical and the company has a less than stellar reputation.  While we rely on our networks to gain information on which companies and businesses are hiring in our career specialty, the Better Business Bureau is another powerful tool that when used properly, can either reaffirm that we’re on the right path or that we’re headed for a dead end, says A. Harrison Barnes, career coach and founder.

So what can the BBB help with your career?  For starters, just as consumers check out businesses before parting ways with their hard earned money, you can easily check out the same company, but as a job seeker instead of a consumer.  Reporters and donors routinely incorporate the power of the BBB, says the founder.  It’s been used since 1912 to check out accreditation, whether or not a company has been involved in unethical practices and even if there have been complaints filed about their reporting procedures.  Its mission is to “foster honest and responsible relationships between businesses and communities”.

“People have relied on the Better Business Bureau for years”, says Barnes.   Not only that, but they maintain years of complaint statistics so you can easily check a company’s past performance, too.  Been offered a job in sales at an area auto dealership?  Odds are, you already know from local consumers its reputation, but a quick check on the website tells you if the dealership has had many complaints that were proven legitimate.   Wondering about a financial institute and whether or not to put your accounting degree to use with it?  The last thing you want to do is be associated with a company that’s treated its customers unfairly.  This is where you discover those facts.

Waiters and hostesses have relied on the bureau for years to let them know if there have been any health concerns.  Again, no one wants to unwittingly be associated with a less than honorable business.

Perhaps the most important reason you can rely on BBB is its fairness.  It will thoroughly check out any complaints to see if they’re justified or if it’s just an upset consumer who’s unfairly targeted a business.  In many cases, that’s exactly what’s happened, says A. Harrison Barnes.  It’s anonymous and all that’s required is the business name, the city and state.  You’re not asked to provide your name or any other identifiable information, so a potential employer never knows you conducted the search.

In a time when reputation is everything, every advantage you can provide for yourself in your job search can only strengthen your efforts.  While there are more than 120 physical offices throughout the country, it’s not necessary to visit one of the physical locations.  Simply point your browser to and from there, input the business information.

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