Indiana, PA - Indiana County

BOB LANKARD: Research is key to interview

by on May 03, 2015 1:49 AM

A job seeker gets off on the wrong foot in an interview by stating they came to the interview to “learn about the company.”

A goal for the interviewee is to know as much about the company as if you worked there already. Research is the way to gain that knowledge.

By doing research the interviewer will know you have spent time and energy rather than just walking in. Learn about the company by looking at the company website, Google the company, do a news search, use social media, talk to employees, customers, the chamber of commerce.

• Company website: Learn goals, needs and company culture.

• Google the company: This may turn up problems, interesting news articles or potential questions to ask.

• Social media: Many  companies now have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn sites. These can give you information on those who run the company.

Are you on Facebook? Keeping up with who is getting married or having a baby? Does it surprise you that Facebook can be a good place to find a job?

A job seeker’s purpose in using Facebook should be to network with professionals in the field by joining and getting active in groups in your line of work.

The secret for the job hunting Facebooker is to give your profile a professional tone.

The profile should highlight accomplishments, skills, experience and education.

Companies also have Facebook pages and they can be a source of information. One job seeker, after looking at a company’s Facebook page, was able to use things he learned about the company and key employees in his cover letter when applying for a job.

Some believe using Facebook for both fun and job hunting is a bad idea. They argue that you will lose out on jobs because of what employers will see on your “fun Facebook.” Others argue that it is safe for the job seekers who set their privacy setting high and highlight their work experience.

• Talk to employees and customers: These conversations may give you inside information. But beware of those with an ax to grind.

• Chamber of commerce: This information may give clues to the history and ups and downs of the company’s history.

• Friends in the community: They also can give you inside information that may not be available elsewhere.

Learning about the employer before the interview or sending your r←sum← gives you the advantage that you already know about the company. You’ve spent time learning about them. And through social media you can have some connection to the person who interviews you.

This may be the key to getting you hired.



Bob Lankard, a retired employment specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry's Indiana Job Center, is a job-search columnist for the Indiana Gazette. Read his columns on Sundays.
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