Chapter 7 - Engaging with the recruiter- Your way in!

Where to research about the company?

During a job hunt, the whole goal is to differentiate you from the rest of the pack and help the recruiter and hiring manager understand that you’re the right person for the job. What you’ll need to know about a prospective employer depends entirely on your experience, your skills, and the company in question. Remember, you’re looking for particulars that can inform your resume and cover letter, and eventually make you shine in an interview. Focus on items that are relevant to you, your skills, and the position to which you’re applying.

1. The Company's Website:

  • Read their “About Us” page.
  • If they have a blog, read it.
  • Visit their social media accounts.
  • Get to know their voice. Get to know what they value. Get to know who their audience is and how they connect with them.

2. Google:

  • While it may be fun to go Google crazy with a company you apply to, but you will probably end up wasting a lot of time. Instead of searching aimlessly, try checking Google News for anything related to the company.
  • Google News show new and newsworthy tidbits on your company that will help you understand their current situation.
  • The same information you can reference in the interview as well- if it’s positive. You may want to additionally search for the company’s CEO or owner, to see if they’ve been mentioned recently as well.

3. LinkedIn:

  • Search for them on Linkedin. Look at who they employ. Browse the employees’ profiles until you develop a sense of the kind of person they like to hire.
  • Take note of pedigree (where they’ve worked before) and try to develop a sense of whether they’re a fairly relaxed culture or if they’re buttoned up.
  • Additionally, find out if you’re connected to anyone who works there, either by a first or second degree connection. If so, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask specific questions.

4. Glassdoor:

  • It’s one of the fastest growing jobs and recruiting sites to gain insights about a company
  • Most companies have company profiles, which in turn have reviews by employees. These reviews provide a lot of insight into what goes on within the organization. Since they are protected by anonymity, reviewers are honest and straightforward.
  • Glassdoor also gives a percentage of CEO approval. A lower percentage could indicate a rift between management and workers which would be valuable to know.
  • Beyond the corporate culture, you can also look at the salary figures that have been posted by employees with certain job titles. This could help you gauge the wage you may be looking at if an offer is made.

5. Quora:

  • If you’re researching a company and the only resources you can find are from the organization itself, with little insight from past or current employees, you might want to branch out to get another perspective. At Quora, you can ask questions on nearly any topic and people will reach out to share their knowledge, perspectives, opinions and ideas.
  • It’s a great way to gain an outside perspective on working for a company or in a specific field or job title.
  • If you aren’t comfortable posting a question yourself, you can search to see if anyone else has asked it before and read those responses instead.

Why is it important to ask questions in an interview?

Instead of making the most of an important opportunity to ask questions in an interview, people miss a huge opportunity of leaving a good impression on the recruiter by simply saying "No".
Asking questions shows that you are serious about the job. Someone who is not much interested in the job would not bother about developing questions. Moreover, he will try to leave as soon as his interview ends.
If you have well thought-out queries to ask the recruiter, you can end the interview looking great as it shows you do not lack curiosity and engagement. It makes them aware that you have done your research, and also gives them a chance to get to know you as the types of questions reveal a lot about you.

  • Shows you're intelligent and different:
    Good questions reveal a finalist’s thought processes. Hiring managers want people who are able to think independently.

  • Informs Your Decision to Accept a Job Offer:
    In the most basic sense, questions are designed to gather information. While it is nice to impress a hiring manager, the overall goal of a finalist’s questions is to inform the decision to accept a job offer if it is extended. Questions about salary, benefits and other such topics are best saved for after a job offer is secured, but questions about organizational culture, management expectations, and goodness of fit between the finalist and the position are fair game during the interview.

  • Recognition:
    Employers want someone who is going to enjoy their job, care about the work, and hopefully stay long-term.
    It costs a lot of money and resources to hire and train someone new and the last thing they want to do is hire someone who’s going to leave soon after joining or give low effort.
    So… employers want someone who’s being careful and selective in their job search, and who knows what they want.

Sample good interview questions to ask:

To get you started, here are some good interview questions to ask:

1. Ask about the role:

  • What would I be expected to accomplish in the first six months? The first year?

  • What’s the biggest opportunity/challenge I’d face in this role?

  • Can you tell me what a typical day looks like?

  • Based on the current team, what skills or traits are most important in order to excel in this role?

2. Ask about the company:

  • What will the onboarding and training process look like?

  • What sort of development and/or learning opportunities does the company offer?

  • Where does [company] see itself five years from now?

  • What are some of the department’s long-term goals?

3. Ask about the future:

  • What is the typical career progression for somebody in this role?

  • How do you envision this person progressing over the next 2-3 years?

Some Do's and Don'ts:

  • Do your research on the firm from a current news perspective. Look at the news section on the company website or search online for recent news articles which you can use as a talking point.

  • Do your research on your interviewers, whether it be HR or Line Managers / Partners. Ask them about their career development, why they decided to join the company, what they enjoy about their role, why they like working for that company etc.

  • Asking economic questions and the interviewer’s opinion can also leave a good impression depending on how you tackle the issue.

  • Refrain yourself from asking questions which one can answer easily by just looking at the company's website.

  • Also, don't ask questions that are already answered during the interview.

  • People usually start asking questions regarding the package offered, benefits, leaves they will get, and promotions, in the very first interview, which are some areas to be avoided. So invest your time effectively.

  • Don’t ask questions that anyone could answer with a quick glance at the company website. Instead, do some research and be a little strategic as you think about the business.

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