Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the August 20, 2007 issue of QuintZine.
They say job-hunting success is all about who you know. But how much you know about prospective employers plays a crucial role, too, a recent survey confirms. Forty-seven percent of executives polled said that having little or no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake job seekers make during interviews.
The national survey includes responses from 150 senior executives — including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments — with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps, a specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals.
Executives were asked, “What do you think is the most common mistake candidates make during job interviews?” Their responses:
“The most successful applicants will have a beyond-the-basics understanding of the firm, including its history, chief competitors and business objectives. Armed with this knowledge, job hopefuls should be able to describe how their skills and experience can help the business reach its goals,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps.
Accountemps offers the following tips for researching potential employers:
- Find information at your fingertips. By visiting the company’s website, you can locate a wealth of information, such as the firm’s mission and values, what products and services it provides, recent press releases and more. If it’s a publicly traded company, call the investor-relations department to request an annual report.
- Research the industry. In addition to learning about the company, research the industry in which it competes to gain a better understanding of the market and specific issues and trends that may affect the organization.
- Check your network. Ask your colleagues, friends and others for information about your prospective employer. Your contacts may have worked for or with the organization and could provide insight that may prove valuable during a job interview.
The national survey includes responses from 150 senior executives — including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments — with the nation’s 1,000 largest companies. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps.
Executives were asked, “What is the most inappropriate thing a candidate has said during a job interview?” Here are some of their responses:
- One candidate cursed during the interview.
- An applicant stated that there was nothing I could tell him he didn’t already know; he said he knew everything about our business.
- One candidate was 25 minutes late for his interview and was upset with me for being annoyed by his tardiness.
- The person invited me out for a drink after the interview.
These applicants also may have been too candid:
- One prospect told me all of the reasons he shouldn’t be hired.
- An individual applied for a customer service job, and when asked what he might not like about the job, he said, “dealing with people.”
- The applicant told me he really was not interested in the position, but he liked that we allowed for a lot of time off.
- The candidate said she would really prefer a job offer from our competitor.
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