Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the June 10, 2002 issue of QuintZine.
A recent survey reveals that a lack of company knowledge is — by far — the most frequent interview faux pas. The chances are great in any given interview that you will be asked some variation of the question, “What do you know about our company?” The question could be “What attracted to you to our company” or “Why do you want to work for our company?” or one of a number of other variations. Employers want to see that you’ve done your homework; in fact, 44 percent of executives recently surveyed by Accountemps said the most common interview pitfall for today’s candidates is insufficient company research. Executives’ responses to the question “Which do you think is the most common mistake candidates make during job interviews?” were as follows:
- 44% — Little or no knowledge of the company
- 23% — Unprepared to discuss career plans and goals
- 16% — Limited enthusiasm
- 5% — Lack of eye contact
- 3% — Unprepared to discuss skills and experience
- 2% — Late arrival
- 4% — Other
- 3% — Don’t know/no answer
Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies’ (Hungry Minds, Inc.) points out that prospective employees should be able to answer the following key questions before the first meeting with a hiring manager:
- What business is the company in?
- What products and services does it sell?
- Who are its primary competitors?
- What current industry issues or events are of interest to the firm?
- What are the company’s mission, vision, and values?
- Family matters: Job seekers to shift priorities — In a post-Sept. 11 era, job seekers and workers will continue to place higher value on working less and spending more time with family and friends, making life choices over career choices.
- Companies to tune in to workers’ needs — Companies will be more open to accommodating workers’ preferences and needs; retention to be a top company concern.
- Transferable skills = more choices — In today’s competitive labor market, job seekers will be doing more to market themselves to a wider range of industries; encouragingly, one in two job seekers change industry or job function successfully.
- Hiring managers to stick with whom they know — Sept. 11 and the slow economy have prompted hiring managers to stay close to home in filling positions; 90 percent prefer to find candidates within their own companies or through networking.
- Experience counts: Older workers to enjoy greater opportunity — With companies cutting so deeply, the playing field between older workers and Gen X-ers is becoming more level; older workers bring much needed experience and demonstrate flexibility.
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