10 November 2008

Know Your Prospective Employers before Applying for the Job

When you apply to work in a certain organization, you may need to know more about your prospective employer. Do not think this as a small matter. Getting to know your prospective employers is like getting to know yourself. It is never a wasted effort.

Your effort to do some research allows the interviewer know how serious you are with the opportunity. It also reflects your sincerity in working with the particular organization.

Most employers think that if the candidates would spend time and effort to prepare for the interview, it is likely that they will put in the same time and effort into the job. That is why doing a little research in your part goes a long way. Employers will feel pleased that they have a good standing in the industry and community when you are able to relate to them some of the good things you have heard about them.

You should be clear why you do the research:

- to convince your boss that you are the right person for their job;

- to gather more information on types of jobs and industries that interested you;

- to discover other options to help you make decisions about where, when and whom you would like to work;

- to discover who at these organizations has the authority to employ you, and to find out who your prospective employers are.

Be focus when you are looking for a job. Any job is not good enough. Be very specific with what industry, company and position you know is right for you. Finding the right job means you have the competitive edge over other interviewees.

Here is a short list of specific researches for you to consider:

- What exactly does the organization make, sell or provide for it customers?

- What is the size of the organization – big or small?

- The internal structure of the organization – how many departments, what is most senior post of each department, other positions related, some job functions of the positions that interested you, etc?

- Is it a family-owned, private or publicly held organization?

- What is the financial state of the organization?

- What is the reputation of the organization in the industry and community?

- Have there been any changes in ownership or management recently?

- Are there branches of the organization in the country or overseas?

- Are there women and members of other ethnic groups in high level management positions?

- Does the organization promote from within or sourcing candidates from outside?

- Has the organization been entangled in any legal matter?

- What is the corporate culture and style of the organization – modern or conservative?

Some of the questions or information may be provided only by people who are working the organization itself. Get your network to find out who is working with the organization. The more you find out about it, the better are your chances at making a good impression with the interviewers.

However, do not feel over-confidence with your new-found knowledge. Prospective employers may not like candidates who know too much about their organizations. You just need to know what you should know.

If you heard rumors about the organization, do not repeat them during the interview. The most unwise move is to relate everything you know to the prospective employers. They are the ones who will disqualify you immediately.

A job may not be a career. A career is a vocation that provides satisfaction, fulfills long term goals as well as offering a bright future. So, you need to be clear when you hunt around for your ‘perfect’ opportunity. You may waste some time and effort, but it is always worth it.

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