Spotting financialization when looking for work
Recently I've had a few friends that have been discontented by the impacts of the rise of financialization at their workplaces. There's a variety of reasons why a increased focus on finance in companies that are not finance companies is a major issue for employees of that company, this video covers some of the dangers posed by financialization in a broader sense. Given that some of those people are now looking for other jobs as a direct result it is important to be able to spot the signs.
Since they are interviewing right now this blog post will be an evolving work in progress, I need to get something up for their benefit quickly. If you have any suggestions for how to improve this please contact me.
Before the interview
- Has the company engaged in any financial games to do stock buybacks?
- Has the company reduced the size or budget of research and development (or cut that department entirely)?
- What do the reviews of previous workers on sites like Glassdoor say about the company culture, is it customer/product/service/etc first or finances first?
- What are the backgrounds of the key decision makers in the firm? Are they from financial backgrounds?
- Does the company take on new debt even when it has cash reserves? (Apple did this relatively recently amidst a huge number of other companies that were issuing new corporate debt)
- Does the company have any issues with "activist investor" vultures?
- Do the owners of the company care about the product/service that the company offers?
- Does the company extensively use tax havens and shell companies for their routine business?
- Does the company engage in non-productive extortion exercises, for example patent trolling?
In the interview
- How is success defined in the organization?
- What non-financial goals does the organization have? Will the organization stick to doing these even if they temporarily don't make money?
- What are the most important measures/KPIs in the company?
- How much does the company outsource and what's things are outsourced?
- What areas, if any, will the company never outsource?
- What is furthest date out that the company will consider in any sort of plan?
- Is the company open/honest about their cap table?