by Rick Gillis
OK, that might be a bit harsh… but now that I have your attention let me explain. Employers don’t care about you as a job-seeker — not because you aren’t a wonderful person worthy of being hired but simply because that’s not what they are in business to do. They are primarily in the business of advancing their own interests. This notion is important to your job search.
At the heart of this discussion are two ideas: first, that your sense of urgency does not have any effect whatever on a hiring decision (said another way — your job clock and an organization’s timing are rarely in sync) and second, with regard to you and your candidacy, it is incumbent on you to create a sense of urgency on their part; that urgency you so badly desire — but in a cool and calculated manner.
So how do you do that? Preparation. There are no shortcuts. I require my clients to compile a professional and personal list of their most notable accomplishments. (See an excerpt from my new book, JOB!) [Editor’s note: See our Job-Seeker Accomplishments Worksheet: Brainstorming and Documenting Your Career Successes.]
These achievements include successes on the job as well as successes they may have had doing volunteer work, raising money for their church or school, coaching local Little League — in short those things you have done academically and athletically, your involvement in charity and volunteering — anything you have done with a group that might come up in a dialogue when presenting yourself as the complete person that you are.
One of my personal mantras is that resumes are unfair because they present such a narrow (business only) view of the person being profiled. Your completed accomplishments list is invaluable for building interview confidence and as a bonus it is a personally motivating exercise.
In short, taking the time to research your personal achievements prepares you for that most famous lead-in to interview questions, “Tell me about a time when…”
The next and an equally important aspect of your preparation is your research on the company or organization. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard from recruiters about the value of a candidate walking into an interview with a prepared list of questions about the employer. If you are not sure what to ask click here for Questions You Can Ask at the Job Interview. This page is mandatory reading.
Additionally, if the company you are applying to is publicly held, visit its Website and seek out its SEC 10K. The 10K is an annual statement required of the Securities Exchange Commission that speaks to the condition of the company as of the date issued. It is required to be filed annually. The SEC 10Q is a quarterly statement. I prefer the 10K to the annual report because all the (good, bad, and ugly) stuff that is glossed over in the annual report will be reported in plain language in the 10K. This is invaluable information to you as a job-seeker. You don’t have to memorize this stuff. Just be aware of it.
While on the corporate site, also review all press releases for the last year. It’s amazing what you can “read between the lines” when you scan this much past (but fairly recent) information in one sitting.
Review every page on the company Website. There is no telling what is hiding in plain sight that might speak to the role you are pursuing. And lastly, search the Internet (including YouTube and LinkedIn) for your target company. None of this research is wasted time when you can walk into an interview and knowledgeably discuss the opportunity at hand, thus creating that sense of urgency with the hiring manager.
“I nailed the interview!”
I have heard this statement time and time again only to hear back from the candidate that they did not get the offer. It’s devastating. The takeaway? Temper your expectations and continue interviewing no matter how good you felt about your performance.
What you need to know
Everyone involved in the recruiting/interviewing/hiring process is there to make you feel welcome. After all, they just mind end up working with you. However, courtesy, interest, and pointed questioning should not be perceived as validation that you are the candidate of choice. The next candidate to be seen will also be treated in the same professional manner.
This article is part of Job Action Day 2012.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Rick Gillis is career coach and guru — a pioneer of 21st century job search — an author of several career books, and founder of The Really Useful Job Search Company LLC. Rick, who has been quoted numerous times, from NPR to The Wall Street Journal, regularly speaks at colleges and universities, job-search networking groups, non-profit organizations, and professional associations. His claim to fame is his creation of the Short-Form Resume and his ‘mandatory’ Accomplishments Worksheet. Visit his Website or reach him by email using his contact form. His fourth job-search book,JOB! Learn How To Find Your Next Job In 1 Day, recently reviewed by QuintCareers.com.