No BS Job Search Advice: The Basics of Preparing for Interviews

The Basics of Preparing for Interviews

The key to being prepared for your interview is to have thoroughly evaluated the company beforehand. You have to know if this is the right place for you, because a bad choice can take you so far down the wrong path that you may find it hard to recover from. So you better evaluate that firm carefully before joining.

But don’t do all of your evaluations until you have the interview. If you take the time to evaluate companies before you send out your resume, what unfortunately happens is that by the time your resume reaches them, 100 resumes may have already arrived, and they may never get to yours. So, if you’ve found a position that’s plausible, and know no immediate reason why you should disqualify that firm, take action and submit your resume. And then, when you get an interview, backtrack.

When you evaluate, you’re looking for a few things. Number one: Is this firm thriving or not? In this day and age, is this firm sending a lot of jobs overseas including your type of work, or not? Do they appear in the financial press as being prosperous, or at risk? Being associated with a firm that’s at risk could damage your career.

Sometimes this kind of information is harder to uncover than you might think. A firm may look as if it’s doing well when it’s really about to sink. Sometimes, before any bad news has gotten out into the open, you have to find contacts within an organization who are willing to talk with you. There are a lot of people you can contact within a firm, or who used to work at a company, who can tell you about a firm and its culture to help you determine whether or not it fits with your needs. LinkedIn is a great resource for that as is Google.

I remember trying to help a friend of mine who was interviewing with a company that neither of us had ever heard of before. He wanted to get an idea of what the firm’s corporate culture was like. So, we went on Google and searched for the resumes of people who had worked at that firm, and found two people who had worked there at one time. He called them up and spoke with them about the company and what it was like to work there.

During the course of their conversations, he heard a couple of things that caused him concern. In his interview, he asked them to address those issues so he could come to a good decision for himself. In the end, he decided not to go with the firm. It’s like when you go out on a first date and these little red flags pop up in your mind when your date says something a bit alarming and you’re like, “Uh-oh, I’m going to stay away from this one!”

Now, Google is only one tool. LinkedIn is another with hundreds of millions of members who were describing their own experiences and where they’ve worked. Often, you can now or your research to people who work in the specific group that you are interviewing with, contact them and get a clearer idea of the person that you will be interviewing with. If you are uncomfortable about contacting current employees, you can do a search for previous employees and do much the same thing.

I can hear many of you thinking, “Well, how can I call somebody up and just ask them for all of this information?” The amazing thing is that people love to give advice; they are usually quite willing to share the inside scoop with you because they’re flattered that you’re calling them. People tend to be very generous with their time. They want to help others, especially if they’re in an organization that is a disaster, they try to be very helpful and tell you to stay clear!

If you skip this particular step of evaluating the company in-depth like this, you could end up stuck for a year or two just hating your job when, with a little homework, you could have avoided the whole thing.

Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020 



Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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