One of the most common reasons employers do not choose to progress with a job seeker after first interview stage is because there is not enough evidence of thorough research to prepare for the interview, and limited engagement with the brand.
Yes, as a job seeker you need to look at the Company's website - that is a basic requirement - but you need to go that extra mile if you want to represent yourself in the best light.
- Do you truly understand what the company does?
- Find out who their main competitors are and research into them too
- What are their values?
- Are there any company case studies which will give you a flavour for recent company successes?
- Check out the News page on the website, remember a piece of information which will give you additional substance to discuss in your interview. It shows your interest and you have researched them - "I noticed you have recently been awarded Investors in People, people clearly mean a lot to you as an employer".
- Look at their social media platforms - Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / Instagram - this will tell you more about the communication style of the Company and the tone they use to engage an audience. This is priceless information! It will give you good grounding for going into the interview with an understanding of their tone and style
- Do their social media platforms have different tones and messaging? For example, is Facebook more relaxed and LinkedIn more professional and formal? If you notice a difference, it could be a good question to ask if there is a reason for different styles - again, it shows you have researched and are interested in their communications strategy plan
- LinkedIn is a great professional tool to find out who works for the company (anyone you know and can ask for more information before your interview?), the company size, any community news such as raising money for a charity, or do they promote team support with a Wellbeing Program?
Glass Door / Reviews
- Make sure you check out any reviews on the company - remember, this is an opportunity for you to make sure this is a company you WANT to work for. Glassdoor is a website where current and former employers review the employer - it is a useful tool to use before an interview or before accepting a job. Click here to review Glassdoor.
- Depending on the role you are going for, some candidates choose to look into the financials of the company to see how they have been performing and how profitable they are. Stability is important when changing jobs.
- Covering letters are still fashionable!
- Important point to remember, tailor every covering letter to the position you are applying for. Do not just copy and paste a covering letter that you have used for other applications - this looks lazy and thoughtless. Exactly the opposite of what you want your prospective employer to think of you
- Make the covering letter relevant about you, your interest in the role and why you are interested. Highlighting a couple of key areas of your experience which are relatable to the advert, will spark their interest to click on your CV
Don't Spray and Pray
- This is a big no-no - it does not get you any further, instead it dilutes you and your focus/direction of your career aspirations. An employer needs to feel they are important and special to you. Not just another application process
- Think about the job before applying. Is it the right industry? Is it the right role? Is it a stop gap? Is it something to tick a box? You need to be certain and committed. Starting an interview process with a jobseeker who says they are keen and then does a U-turn halfway through to progress a position in a completely different sector, is a waste of time for all parties and does not look good. Entering and leaving an interview process with the same level of respect, consideration, and truthful communication is enormously important. Who knows, this position might not be right for you now, but bridges have a habit of re-linking in the future - do not burn them!
- Keep a list of all the jobs you have applied for so when you get a call to discuss your application, you know which job it is for. One of the most disheartening sentences as a recruiter we can hear is, "I've applied for so many jobs, I can't remember this one. Can you refresh me on the role?". This rings instant alarm bells and lack of engagement, let alone if it was an employer who was calling you. Start as you mean to go on!
- Make your questions interesting and thoughtful. Do not ask about hours or salary, these are basic questions which your Consultant will cover for you, or you will see from the advert
- Focus on deeper, more engaged questions such as: "What would you see as my biggest challenge in the role?", or "What will my first 90 days look like?", or "Now you have met with you, do you have any concerns about my ability or suitability for the role?".
Information is Paramount - how much do you really want the job?
The more time you invest in a directed job search, getting under the skin of the company, their values, their communication tone, their style, their size of workforce, who their competitors are, the better position you will be in to highlight your suitability and relatable experience and to stand out as a serious contender for the role. Being prepared is not something you should do; it is something you must do.
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