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Know yourself and the firm you’re applying for

Published on Thursday, 07 Apr 2011

In today’s ever more complex world of work, companies are encouraging their recruiters, HR managers and supervisors to take courses on interviewing and evaluating job applicants. They employ new interviewing techniques and subject candidates to more and longer interviews, including possible panel interviews or presentations.

As we enter the ‘Human Age,’ today’s corporations are seeking ‘self-managing’ employees who are versatile, confident, mobile, flexible and can roll up their sleeves and get the job done with minimum instruction.

Today’s applicants need to show a deeper knowledge of themselves, the organisation and, if possible, the hiring managers, if they wish to be taken seriously.

Most pre-interview preparation is about understanding, and the first item to understand is that the interview is not an interrogation but a two-way street – you selling your skills and potential to them, and the company, eventually, selling the organisation to you. Therefore, be practical when asked to describe your skills, strengths and weaknesses.

Take the time to learn about the company and the job you are applying for. How can you decide to work for a firm until you’ve satisfactorily researched it?

To understand the importance of pre-interview preparation, consider yourself a salesperson. Would you call on a possible customer without knowing about their business? If so, how could you convince them they need your product?

Almost every interviewer will ask you what you know about the firm. This is not just being polite; it is a highly effective technique to measure the candidate’s interest in the company and a vital factor to whether the organisation should be interested in you. Therefore, before you step through that interview door – know both yourself and your potential employer.

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