By Janice Burch, Co-founder, Pro Resume Center, LLC
Do not underestimate the value of thorough research prior to a phone or in-person job interview. Job seekers new to the game, like college graduates or those just entering the workforce, need to understand that preparation can make it or break it for you in getting a second interview or job offer.
Take the time to arm yourself with some serious knowledge about the company’s products, service, mission, the people, its performance and history and you will stand out as knowledgeable, self-motivated and a valuable asset to the company.
So where to begin?
Get as educated as possible about the company and the people, and you will be in a better position to ask intelligent questions during your interview which shows you have done your homework. Here are a few resources to help you do your research:
- Google the company name to find out what you can discover about it online.
- LinkedIn and Social Pages: Check the company’s LinkedIn and social pages to see what information you can find. In addition, check the company executive’s LinkedIn profiles if public to understand what they are saying about where they work.
- Employee Review Sites: Check sites like Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com for former employee company reviews. Take some of these with a grain of salt as some may have been written by disgruntled employees who failed to perform and were let go, but there is usually a grain of truth to be found on these sites, especially if you see a common thread like “failed to pay commissions on time,” and “all hype at interview and no delivery on promises after two months on the job.” These sites can help you decide whether to continue with the hiring process, or not.
- Use Your Own Connections: If you have a connection that will help you find inside information, use it. Do you know someone who works there? Check your own LinkedIn profile to see if one of your contacts worked there at one time. Ask them about the company. If you belong to a professional association, they may be able to help you network with people who can give you advice.
Using the information you have gleaned from your research, get a notepad to take to the interview and start writing down important points to remember about the company, the person who will be interviewing you (did you find out their former position was at the same company your brother worked for? Did they graduate from a school you attended or played in your college conference? These little personal ties you can make with the interviewer, especially if he or she is a VP or the company owner, can help you be memorable to them after you have walked out the door.)
In addition, write down your questions on the notepad ahead of time. Again – it shows you did your due diligence and understand the importance of preparation in business meetings. If they are considering hiring you, they want to know that you will do the same to prepare for a client meeting or staff meeting.
Finally – jot down the interviewer’s answers as quickly as possible. You do not want to constantly be saying “could you say that again so I can write it down?” You will want to remember their answers, so you can review later if they offer you a job and you are deciding between that and another offer – to see which one offers you the most opportunity for advancement, benefits, vacation or any other criteria.
So get going – it’s time to put your research skills to work!
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