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First things first: it’s wise to conduct basic preliminary research on the company of interest before you hit the “Apply” button, because it may turn out that your personality and/or career objectives don’t mesh well with that of the company’s, or vice versa. You don’t want to find out when it’s too late that the new gig really wasn’t what it was cracked up to be.
Once you’ve landed an interview, the real Googling can begin. What you want to remember is that preparation creates confidence, and confidence is what wins jobs. But what constitutes proper preparation and not research overkill?
Your main objective is to gather information that helps you figure out what the company is all about and what they’re looking for in a candidate, then identify how your experience, knowledge, and skill set can successfully fulfill that void. Anyone can walk into an interview and discuss what their qualifications are, but unless they can match those talents with tangible results for the company, their words are rubbish.
Here are a few key questions you’ll want to consider when preparing for the big day.
1. What made you apply for the job? – Consider whether your choice to apply was for the career opportunity, the challenge, the company itself, or something else. When you identify the “why” behind going after a particular job, you can then establish how that fits into your overall career goals, and feel more confident in your candidacy.
2. Are you a good fit for the organization and vice versa? In what ways? – Here is where you identify why your educational and professional background make you a worthy candidate. Also, think long-term: is this a place you want to call “home” down the line? Now, think short-term: does your personality fit in to the company culture?
3. What does the company have to say on social media? One of the best ways to research a company is by checking out their social media profiles, with LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram being good starting points. What you want to look for is how the company engages with their customers; then you can go a step further and examine its employees’ profiles to see what they have to say about their jobs. You will be able to get a pretty good idea of how the company communicates, what its message is to the public, and whether or not your personality will fit in.
4. Does the company have a high or low turnover rate? Why? – An important fact to research is whether the company is able to retain its employees or not. If the company has a high turnover rate, then that may indicate that the company has a habitual problem of hiring the wrong people, or that employees quit/get fired for various reasons. The bottom line is, you don’t want to work for a company that has a revolving door reputation when it comes to employees, because you will, most likely, add to the company’s turnover statistic one day.
5. Does the company handle customer issues efficiently and in a professional manner? – Have you ever been on a date at a restaurant and the other person is terribly rude to the waiter? That’s what we’re touching on with this question. In business, customer service is what makes or breaks a business, especially with the incorporation of social media into the equation. Look at the company’s social media profiles to see if they are competent and respectful to their customers, because that will be a good indication of how they respond to employees, as well.
Hopefully these tips will help you nail the next interview so that you can start the dream career you’ve worked so hard for.
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