The greatest career dream of every job applicant once you avail your job application details to the prospective employer or job recruitment agency is to be called for the job interview. Successful candidates whose applications get to capture the recruiters eye will ultimately cross the bridge and move to this interactive stage where the potential employers either directly or indirectly (through recruitment agencies) will want to have a face to face or telephone interaction with you to ascertain whether you correspond to the written application details and whether you constitute the dream employee they look forward to having in their workforce.
Once you land the interview call up, you cannot afford to sit and show up at the appointed date without a serious and smart research on a number of areas. A proper pre-interview research will make you more prepared and give confidence which is key for you to succeed. It will also help you ask the right questions to the interviewer from an informed point of view. Ignoring to ask questions during an interview is suicidal and irritating to the interviewer. It is imperative for you as a job candidate to demonstrate that you have interest not only for the job but the company as well. This could be the dividing line between you and other candidates seeking the same opportunity.
There are three key areas which you need to research on and gain factual information before the interview date. They include;
You must research and learn everything about the company inviting you for the interview. Beside its statistics like profit margins and products or services try and understand the company’s culture and values.
- A number of things that you must get to know before then about the company include ;
- The key persons in the organization and the organizational structure or hierarchy
- If the company is in multiple locations and the number of offices
- Possible number of employees.
- The organizations major products or services (never make a mistake of confusing this with those of the competitors)
- The firms’ size in terms of sales
- Some of the major clients enjoying the services or products of the organization.
- It is also important to know the organizations competitors.
Most of this information about the organization can always be obtained from a number of sources including;
- The company’s suppliers and clients,
- The annual reports,
- Information sent to candidates,
- The competitors,
- The company’s PR team,
- Local newspapers and more resourcefully the internet on the company’s websites.
- You can also get this information through personal contacts in the organization.
The job advertisement you applied for will always have a description mentioning the responsibilities of the position and the company’s expectation of the candidate when employed. However there are instances when the advert is not very descriptive and this will mean that you have to get information from someone in the organization to expound on the jobs’ expectation. This will also help you structure your CV in a manner that will illustrate your suitability for the job.
Before proceeding for the interview you need to understand the job description since this will help you know the;
- Job title and department where you will be working,
- The responsibilities and duties therein,
- The reporting and organizational structure.
As you research about the job you also need to get facts on the;
- Place or location of work,
- The working hours and conditions,
- Fringe benefits,
- Annual leave,
- Medical scheme coverage,
- Termination notice period and possibly sick pay.
By researching about the job you will also and ultimately come to the point of reality where you will fully discover the following facts;
- Whether you match up for the position,
- Whether you carry the right qualification and experience,
- Whether you have the right competencies,
- Whether you have any special skill required,
- Whether there are any gaps and how to fill them, the strengths and weaknesses you have pertaining to that role and how to utilize or make up for each.
Discovering gaps should not freak you out. You need to know how you will convince the interviewer/s of your willingness to correct them. You should show that you are willing to be trained and learn new things, or are not afraid of hard work and that you are also committed and enthusiastic about the new role to the extent that you will be ready to do the right things and bridge significant gaps.
At this stage you need to research and possibly know the person who is to interview you and his/her designation in the organization. You can always ask this at the point of receiving the invitation for the interview. This will help you have a rough idea of how many people are likely to be in the interview room and what to expect. The seniority of the interviewers will always help you understand the significance of the position to the firm and the point of focus for that particular session.
Line managers are always keen on spotting the right skill sets and experience and not so much focused on qualification.
HR Managers are particularly concerned on your background and possibly reasons for career change and you personal aspirations.
Senior Managers will mostly focus on your leadership abilities, ability to accomplish the job smartly, your long term aspirations and potential.
When you prepare for the interview you become more aware of the job and the company offering it. This definitely boosts your confidence levels. You will comfortably project the image the company expects and the knowledge it requires. You will be able to discuss the organization more knowledgeably and its services/products and show how you will be an asset to them. This will boost your chances of securing the job.
Additionally by conducting a good pre-interview research on the company you will be able to understand and decide whether that is the organization that you would wish to work for ,whether that is the position you are looking for and know your chance of advancing in your career vertically and horizontally.
Remember preparation and research will give you a head start . Do it and do it smart.