Expert job search advice.

The Organizational Chart: No Longer a Hidden Secret

The Organizational Chart
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When a candidate is offered a job, there are many factors to consider – pay structure, benefits package, corporate environment, work schedule, expectations… but there is one thing I would consider just as important as all of these – the organizational chart of the hiring company.

Transparency is key to any relationship and a peer to the boss is no different. An organizational chart can be invaluable in creating transparency. It is crucial for all employees of an organization to understand where their role sits in the organization, the functional divides, and the chain of command. When considering a new job, knowing exactly where the job lies in the chain of command could unveil a lot about the position and the company.

“Organizational charts were the secret weapon to forging partnerships during my 20 years as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and Europe. Yet, they are a carefully guarded secret, which have to be painstakingly put together by hand, The Org is surfacing this critical information, improving efficiency from the sales floor to the boardroom.”

Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen, general partner at Balderton Capital, Tech Crunch

Your job search strategy can, and should now include organizational chart research. If you are interviewing for a new position, I highly recommend that you check out the website The Org. It’s a website of public organizational charts and it includes over 142,000 companies ranging from Starbucks to Front.

Five ways is valuable in organizational chart research

1. The site gives you a title AND an actual name of a person in the role. As networking and connections are more important than ever, this is a clear way to discover how you are connected to company leaders and decision-makers. Take this insight and use it on LinkedIn for additional research. Look for common connections that you can leverage for a genuine introduction for a networking meeting.

“It’s so helpful for networking, and for current employees as well who are looking to make inroads in other parts of the organization. Knowing who to talk to can gain visibility across the organization and that can lead to fast growth.”

Jessica Sweet, Career Coach, Wishingwell Coaching

2. When exploring a job posting online, visit The Org to learn who the hiring manager is and use their name in your cover letter. Google the hiring manager’s name to learn more about their background and write a compelling cover letter that will more likely resonate. The more educated a job candidate is going into the interview – about the interviewer and the company, the more engaging and productive the interview will be.

3. The Org gives a visual of how many degrees of separation you are from the CEO or where decisions are made at the highest level. Your title may be “Head of X” but there could be two or three layers of separation between you and the decision-makers. It’s so important to understand where your role fits in an organization before you take the job.

“I always recommend candidates ask about org structure/charts once they get to the interview phase. I also encourage folks to inquire about decision-making authority. Both help confirm scope, possible barriers, and speed to a decision.”

Megan Grimes, Specialty Recruiter, Kelly

4. The site also shows you organizational chart vacancies. If I was interviewing for a role as a data scientist and saw that the Chief Data Officer had five unfilled positions on his team, this might be seen as a red flag (or an opportunity for growth). Information is power and gives you the knowledge to ask better questions during the interview.

“The balance of power is shifting. Candidates no longer need to cross their fingers when accepting an offer, hoping the company will be as advertised during the interview process.

Both parties win with transparency.”

Ryan Gallagher, Senior Director Business Development, The Org

5. While this site is in its infancy (founded in 2017), it is well backed by over $39M in venture capital. The Org has a dual target audience – the job seeker looking to understand where their position would fall within the company and employees of a company curious about where they stand in the lateral hierarchy of their employer. 

“The way certain roles are organized tells so much about the priority a company places on certain functions and how they are viewed. For example, a company that doesn’t have their top HR exec reporting to the CEO says something about how they view their people.”

Diana Alt, Career & Leadership Coach, Diana Alt Coaching and Consulting

The Org is not just pulling back the curtain on large, well-established companies, it includes many startups as well. Given the funding behind the site and the overwhelming need for transparency of the organizational chart, I believe it will only grow from here.

I was honored to sit down recently and discuss the topic of organizational charts with my colleague, Hannah Morgan of Career Sherpa.
Our conversation was recorded and shared live on LinkedIn.



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