How to Avoid Being Ignorant During a Job Interview
AMONG THE COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY JOB CANDIDATES is not doing their homework before interviewing. That’s what really tees hiring managers off.
Your ignorances about the job you’re applying for, the company you’re applying to, and about your own skills shows potential bosses that you’re an unprepared candidate who is wasting their time. When you don’t know these things, you’re considered an ignoramus. You can avoid having that harmful label slapped on you by gathering information in three areas before interviewing:
Know what the company is about
The first step in selling anything is gathering information about your product and the customer to whom you intend to sell it to. When it comes to a job finding campaign, you are the product to be marketed and sold. Your prospective job prospects are your customers.
In today’s age of the Internet, there are no excuses for your not knowing about a company. Most corporate Websites contain oodles of information you can use at the interview.
For example, many sites have several pages of information you can open. Click on COMPANY to get an overview of the organization and learn about its history brands, names of officers, and board members. Click on NEWS to learn about corporate dividends and quarterly earnings. Click on CAREERS to learn about career opportunities and job postings.
Your interviewers will be wowed when you use this information. Why? Because you are demonstrating your knowledge about and interest in the company and job in question.
Know what the job you’re applying for is about
Always ask for a job description from the person with whom you’re setting up an interview. That person could be a corporate or agency recruiter or a representative from the company that has invited you to interview with them.
Either way, when you get the job specifications, practice matching your skills and achievements on your resume to what the job calls for.
Know what your skills are about
This area has always been a sticking point for me as a career coach. You’d be surprised how many job candidates draw a blank when I ask, “what are your three major strengths?” When prodded, those not knowing job candidates reply with those universal and lame clichés such as, “I’m a team player,” or, “I’m a hard worker.” Yeah, right!
So I demonstrate how to answer the skills question by listing what I consider my three main skills of coaching, designing and delivering seminars, and verbal and written communications-depending on the job I would be interviewing for. Then I coach clients how to uncover and list their major strengths, how to rehearse them, and how to practice verbalizing them with enthusiasm when asked, “What are your strengths, Liz?”
You won’t be an ignoramus during job interviews when you know all about the company you’re interviewing for, the job specifications for the position in question, and are prepared to rattle off your three major skills.