Archive for the ‘Target Company Research’ Category

Almost every job interview begins with the interviewer asking the interviewees to tell about themselves. This seemingly innocent and obvious question sinks more interviews than any other part of the interview. Everyone knows this question is coming, however, very few candidates prepare for this. They assume that they know their background, and so they can just talk about it. However 90% of candidates talk themselves right out of a job just in telling about themselves. Because they have not prepared they:

  1. Ramble
  2. Bore the Interviewer
  3. Say irrelevant or even damaging things
  4. Do not demonstrate relevancy to the company or the position
  5. Do not demonstrate track record of success

Nailing this part of the interview makes the rest of the interview so much easier. If you strike out on this, recovering is almost impossible. Since you know they are going to ask the question, wouldn’t it make sense to prepare? I have heard recommendations to respond by asking the interviewer to first explain what the job entails. If I am interviewing, and a candidate asks this question, I will wonder why they did not read the job description, and assume they are unprepared. So how do you answer this question? Keep in mind, when interviewing, your primary objectives are to:

  1. Answer “What is in it for the interviewer”?
  2. Demonstrate how your values and culture align with the company values and culture.
  3. Articulate what you are known for, and how that is a benefit for the company.
  4. Articulate your value proposition.

Also you need to be concise and to the point. In preparing for the “Tell Me About Yourself” the following tips will help you nail the shot when the game is on the line.

  1. Read and understand the job description.
  2. Research the company.
  3. Total time should be between 1½ and 3 minutes.
  4. Give a BRIEF synopsis of your career. Shape your synopsis to the needs learned from the job description and prior research.
    1. Do not list every title and company you have worked for, but give a range.
    2. Do not give a laundry list of responsibilities tasks or processes you performed, but give a range.
  5. Based on the job description, as well as the required skills and experiences, give 2 or 3 SHORT accomplishment statements to demonstrate your success.
    1. Do not go into details.
    2. Do not take time to “set the stage”.
    3. Give a simple Quantified Result and action statement including key skill or experience.
    4. Should be 20 words or less.
  6. Summarize skills and experience inferred from the accomplishment statements focusing on skills and experiences required in the job description.
  7. Say why you want the job! Why are you interested in the company, and their products or services?
  8. Solicit their agreement that your background and experience enable you to meet the objectives of the position and the company.

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the interview “Tell Me About Yourself” and how you prepare.

Most job seekers take a reactive rather than a proactive approach to their job search. Their focus is on submitting resumes online to jobs that they see posted. This may be the easiest approach, but it is far from effective or efficient. One of the most essential components of a strategic job search plan is to have a target company list. Why is this so important? If you are not aiming to go somewhere, you will not go anywhere. The best way to differentiate yourself from the masses of job seekers, is to position yourself as the solution to the problems of your target companies. You cannot position yourself as a solution, if you do not know their problems, and you cannot know their problems if you do not do adequate research.

A couple of weeks ago, when I was at the Laguna Niguel Connectors networking meeting, someone said to me that he understood the need to research target companies, but didn’t know where to get information. The best sources for company research are informational meetings and industry conferences or associations. In addition, here is a quick list of great online resources that you can tap into for the information you need.

1)      Call Companies for Information

The power of a simple phone call cannot be over estimated. In today’s era of social media, use of the phone is becoming a lost art. You can use this to find out

2)      Informational Meetings – Talk, either by phone or in person with current or former employees, suppliers, vendors, distributors, competitors and industry experts.

3)      Company Collateral

a)      Company Web sites

b)      Company Brochures

c)       Annual Reports

d)      Newsletters

e)      Archived Webcasts and Earnings Calls

4)      Industry Associations and News

5)      Magazines & Newspapers

6)      Professional Organizations

7)      Additional Internet Resources

a)      Reference USA – free access through many libraries. If you have a library card, go to the library website, check online data bases, and click Reference USA. You will be prompted to enter your library card number.

b)      Mergent Online Company Data Base – same as Reference USA, is accessible through many public libraries

c)       Linkedin

d)      Other Social Media

e)      Google Finance

f)       Google Discussion Group

g)      Blogs

h)      Analyst Reports

What other resources do you recommend for target company research?

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools you can leverage in your career management, but most professionals use it for nothing more than an online resume. When I teach LinkedIn, people are amazed that there is so much more to LinkedIn. A repeated theme of my workshops and blogs is that job security in corporate America is a thing of the past. As a result, the most important thing a professional can understand is this: It is not what you know, or even who you know, but who knows you that will land you your next position or help you promote in your career. LinkedIn leveraged properly will allow you to spread your reputation as a subject matter expert and successful professional. So in considering what to blog about this week, I decided to write a blog on how to better leverage LinkedIn as a personal branding tool. Just as I was starting to write, I saw a posting from my good friend Neal Schaffer, spelling out exactly what I wanted to say. So rather than try to write the same thing, I would share Neal’s post. Click the link below and Enjoy! 4 Ways Of Obtaining Thought Leadership on LinkedIn.

I was recently lucky enough to be invited to join a speakers and writers mastermind group. As my practice grows, and my opportunities for writing and speaking increase, I wanted to surround myself with some of the best minds in the area. Saturday was my first opportunity to participate. In the course of the conversation, Mark Fierle, author of Rekindling The American Dream, made a comment that really resonated with me, not only as a speaker and writer, but as an executive coach. Paraphrasing, he said that the best authors are those that are out and about, experiencing what others are experiencing, engaging in dialogue and learning about critical hot button issues. It is the same thing for job hunters. The most successful are those who are out and about, talking with key players in their target industry, communicating and learning what keeps decision makers up at night, understanding what the hot button issues are that need to be addressed. It is with this information that a job hunter can transform their branding from that of a job seeker to that of a value added solution. Do not conduct your job search as if you are under house arrest. Don’t be a slave to your resume. Yes, social media and internet are important components of what you need to do, but they are only part of a balanced approach. They can be scheduled any part of the morning or night. Get away from your computer. Get out and about. Know the pulse of your opportunities, so you can leverage your skills, passions and experiences to solve the headaches of your target company.

 In an article in Sports Illustrated on Mike Brown, the new Lakers coach, Lee Jenkins writs about how Brown strategically prepared for his next job. “No one wants to follow a legend, but Mike Brown knew Jackson was retiring, and he found himself watching the Lakers more than the Heat. By midseason he was taking notes on them like an advance scout. When they combusted against Dallas in the playoffs, he detailed their vulnerabilities to the pick-and-roll, and when Bryant termed the season “a wasted year of my life,” he felt goose bumps. Lakers owner Jerry Buss invited Brown to his home in May for an interview, but Buss was not prepared for all of Brown’s baggage: a binder filled with more than 50 pages about the team, separated into sections, including one analyzing every Laker and another evaluating potential trades. Brown also brought four DVDs, one 49 minutes long, depicting defensive coverages. When Jim Buss, the owner’s son and Lakers executive vice president, asked to take the DVDs home with him, Brown resisted. He didn’t want them out of his hands….. When Jim Buss called Brown to offer him the job, he told him, “I’m hiring you because I want to see those DVDs.”

Brown is an unlikely coach to the stars, having never played professionally, or even stood out as a collegian. … He became a defensive specialist at San Diego and found his way to the NBA when he spotted a picture of then Nuggets coach Bernie Bickerstaff on the cover of the alumni magazine. Brown asked for an internship, and even though Denver didn’t offer any, Bickerstaff hired Brown to help run team-sponsored camps. Brown traversed Colorado in a red Nissan pickup, devising clinic schedules as intricate as his practice plans. From there, Brown had stints as an assistant with the Wizards, Spurs and Pacers before the Cavs hired him”.

After reading the article, my 16 year old son said, “Now I understand why they hired Brown. He was so well prepared, the Lakers couldn’t help but hire him.” Are you doing everything you can to ensure that your target company has no choice but to hire you?  Do you have a list of realistic target companies?  Are you pending hours researching them, understanding their problems and headaches?  Are you preparing scenarios for their success? Are you positioning yourself as the solution to their problems? Strategically looking for your next career position is a full time job. Do not leave it to chance

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1193035/index.htm.


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