While many people prefer to remain in one field or industry in order to build up their expertise or experience there are others in the workforce that actually prefer to move around. This may be done for many reasons, perhaps to gain new experience or even out of necessity; whatever the reason may be the result is that many people are now starting brand new jobs in new industries and as such it is important to understand the “landscape” of the industry.
Basically, you need to understand the trends, regulatory realities, what type of mobility will you have when it comes to moving around and growing within the company and what types of issues does your new company or industry face. Most of these you can find the answers to during your interview process; however, be aware of the fact that many prospective employers may not be entirely forthcoming about any professional downsides or the amount of red tape you may end up having to circumvent.
That being said, you can check out insider blogs on websites and trade publications as additional tools to use in order to find this information. You can also try to locate analyst reports; for instance, if you are going into the automotive industry, reading about the macro trends of the industry will likely give you a good view of the possible challenges you may face.
You also need to know the businesses history, to understand what it has already gone through as it will also give you some idea as to where it is headed. If you start a job at a well known and established company you need to know where it was 50 years ago and what types of turns that it took 5 or 8 years ago as a way of understanding why and where it is going now. On the other hand, if you begin work with a start-up company understanding where they got the original thought it came from will help you to gain more perspective on what kind of market they are trying to fit in or carve out.
One of the first things you should do when starting a new job is to get to know the people that work there; their personal dynamics and egos. Because if you take a company, any company, and switch out the people the entire culture within the company will change, as well as its performance. Understanding the politics within the business is important since people really are inherently selfish and will of course be looking after their own needs first.
The climate and culture of a company makes up its politics and will be the reason that some companies will feel like a better place to work than some others.