Ok, people, focus.
You have limited time, and you need to get a project completed fast. Or you have to make a dinner reservation at a new place. Maybe you have to arrange for some service done on your home. Or you have to switch vendors at work. Time is a scarce resource. You don’t have the luxury of conducting multiple interviews, performing tons of research, and asking all of your friends. You’ve got 20 other tasks to accomplish, and all before your next coffee break.
How can you decisively make your selection without blowing your time budget?
First, spend a few minutes on the candidate company’s website. Stroll around casually, look at a few pages, read the “about us” tab, get a feel for this place. Limit your time, a couple minutes ought to do the trick, unless you see something you don’t like right away (misspelled words, canned appearance, misaligned priorities). Do you feel good about the idea of moving forward with these folks? No? Then try the next place on your list. Yes? Good, on to the next step.
Check Google and Yelp, maybe even Facebook. See if the place has any reviews. Spend a few minutes perusing the stars and comments offered. Take both glowing and horrible reviews with a grain of salt, and see if you can find a theme or pattern. Don’t go down the rabbit hole, here, Alice, you can get mired for a millennium following some of these threads. Just get enough of a taste so you still feel good about moving forward with these folks.
Call or email the contact listed on the company’s website. Describe what you want, get some feedback. If you email, make sure you get a response in what you consider to be a respectable amount of time, and one that satisfies the questions you asked. If you call, try to get a sense of the people who work there. Are they friendly? Patient? Informative? Helpful? If you don’t get a good vibe from direct contact with them, then you might have to start over.
Assuming all is going well, then go ahead and work with them! Give them a trial run, see how they do on that first project. If you like them, bam, you won! If not, start over for the next time and test out another option.
Try not to catch the dreaded PARALYSIS ANALYSIS, where you just keep spinning your wheels, doing a little more research, asking a few more friends what they think, considering every possible alternative in the universe. This is a stalling mechanism your brain wants to use to keep you from making a decision that might bring you some pain or discomfort.
Just remember, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice…