In the November 6, 2008 issue of Early to Rise, the Internet’s most popular health, wealth and success newsletter, Suzanne Richardson wrote a great article about interviewing – “A surefire way not to get hired”. In it she stresses the importance of some advanced planning and research and what it could have done to change the course of an interview for her friend “Carly”.
In a nutshell, her friend “Carly” made the same mistake so many job seekers make – thinking the potential employer is interested in them and only wants to hear about them and their career. At this point in the process, the company in interested in what you can do for them – period. They could care less about your hopes and aspirations. They want to know “What are you bringing to my party? And is it name brand chips or the store brand?”
For some reason, people think the job search is all about them and they assume (and we all know what that does) the interviewer is enamored to hear every detail of their career along with all their dreams for the future. WRONG.
The beginning of the job search is all about you – you decide to look – and the end of the job search is all about – you decide to accept the position. The middle? It’s all about them. Every syllable out of your mouth should be an example of how you can help the organization grow, run better, launch a new product … whatever. In order for you to do that, you have to do your homework. Research the company. Talk to people who work there. Google the company. Look for articles written about them and most likely the challenges they face. Dig past the first five entries of a search and you’ll be surprised at what you discover.
Use Hoovers and ThomasNet (formerly The Thomas Registery) to gather basic data. Sometimes you can even find the names of department heads listed in the info. At the very least, visit their Web site, so you know about the product or service provided. Difficult as it is to believe, I interviewed people when I was a manager at Chloride Systems in Burgaw, NC who had no idea what we made (emergency lighting and uninterruptible power sources). When I asked if they knew about our product lines, I heard GUESSES ranging from pool chemicals to car batteries. Needless to say, their visit was a waste of both of our times. In this Internet age, there’s no excuse not to know the company’s product, their mission statement, their culture.
Think about it. When you finally landed the dream date with Mr. or Ms. Right, did you spend the entire evening “boring” them with every detail of your life starting with your first breath, or did you show them you were interested in them by sharing tidbits you’d gathered from friends and friends of friends intending to dazzle and impress. I understand the physiological drive behind why you’d conduct this type of research. But isn’t living indoors and eating regularly also something that drives you? Isn’t advancing you career a reason to spend an hour or two researching a company?
The sooner you begin phrasing your responses in a “this is what I can do for you”, rather than a “what can you do for me” position, the more success you’ll have during interviews. Remember, this part of the job search process is all about them. Not you.
PS – For those of you who don’t get the Early to Rise daily e-letter, you’re missing a great resource. And you can’t beat the price – FREE. Go subscribe now.