Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Three things to research before your next job interview

It is Three for Thursday, and here are three things for you to research before your next job interview (and I'm not talking about the company website - though yes, def. check that out too). ;) 

1. LinkedIn profiles of company employees.

Researching LinkedIn can help answer a few of the questions that you probably already have for the job that you are interviewing for, such as:
  • What paths have the other employees taken to get to this job?
  • How long do people usually remain in a position with the company?
  • Is this a company that workers seem to stay with?
  • What day-to-day responsibilities do the employees at the company have (this can usually be found in responsibilities section of a LinkedIn profile)?
You can also connect with someone who works at that company in order to ask them questions relating to the organization. Pick someone who won’t be directly involved in your interview process at first, and ask simple advice about their experiences thus far, what they like most about their job, and what is most challenging. 

2. The company's social media pages  – including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Most career advisors will tell you to go to the company’s web site (a good idea), but don’t forget to go to the social media pages of the company too.

Social media pages are updated more frequently than a general company page; you can keep up with some of the latest ideas, projects, or announcements that the company has produced.

You can also see the simple mission statement of the company and what it is emphasizing to the public.

Those bits of information are things that you can then thread into your answers at your interview, as well as help you to think about how your past experience relates to some of the initiatives they seem to be featuring to the public. 

Remember, an interview is about showing your value and how that value can be offered to what the company is producing. A great place to see what they are currently prioritizing, at least externally, is social media. 

3. Salary ranges on Glassdoor.

Pay is important. It isn’t the most important aspect of a job, but you should always make sure that the advertised (or if not advertised) pay of a job is in range of what is expected with that position.

If the pay is lower than the average, consider these questions:
  • Does experience come into play with the pay you are being offered? Your experience might be the reason that it seems like you are making a little bit less.
  • Is this a larger company that hires lots of entry-level positions? If so, expect the pay to be a little bit lower.
  • Does the company offer any benefits or perks that equate to salary?
If the pay seems much higher than the average on Glassdoor, make sure that the company is reputable. If something seems too good to be true, make sure it is true. Sadly, we live in a world that requires us to beware of scams. But if it reputable, your location can play into the salary difference as well.

One of the things that I’ve learned about human resources is that an easy way to think about interviews is:

The company is the shopper; you are selling your personal brand.

And if you think about it that way, it makes sense to do some consumer research, just like any brand does before hitting a market. Because the more you know about a customer, the easier it is to see how your brand can fit their needs.

Good luck with any interviews you have coming up! And remember, whether it is full-time, part-time, or an internship, the payoff of the research is always worth the investment. 

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