Executives, you have so many skills and experiences, but your preparation for networking, applying and interviewing are, well, pathetic. And, even though the internet makes preparation so much easier than before, preparation skills have gotten worse! After 30+ years in Fortune 500s and, most recently, interviewing and coaching thousands of executives, you can stand out just by doing better homework than the next candidate.
About this series of job tip mistakes: On the positive side, there are so many job search tips available to you, both on my site and others. However, sometimes, seeing yourself in the mirror of major barriers can help you more. So, in the spirit of helping you get a job you want even quicker, let’s hit the major mistakes head-on.
Here are some real examples of “crappy preparation”:
- During an HR or recruiter screening: They ask you what you know about the company and you say “Not much” or “Well, there is so much on the internet but I didn’t know what to read in particular until we spoke.” The listener hears: “I didn’t do any research on your company.”
- During a networking event, the association president asks you “Why are you interested in the XYZ Company?” and you respond “because I think they can use my help, leveraging my skills in finance.” The president hears: “I think I’m just that good and any company should hire me and win.”
- During a phone interview: “Can you tell me why you are the best candidate for this job?” You reply with a litany of facts from your resume, hoping that the sheer volume of experiences will “wow” the interview to the point that they will say “HIRED” at the end of your monologue. The interviewer hears “I didn’t read your job description or compare my skills with what you need. This is all about me, the candidate.”
- You can imagine what a face-to-face interview sounds like. It gets worse.
There are so many more, but more helpful might be to share the three main categories of preparation you must do during the job search process:
- How to do research: Take notes! Organize what you learn into categories and write short bullet-points that help you remember key concepts.
- When to do research: Prepare before every “event”, regardless of how small and event: phone screen, phone interview, informational networking meeting, through interview.
- What to research: (3 types of content, minimally)
- The company, the division, competitors, market, recent speeches, and recent news.
- People: Try to find out the names of the people you are about to meet with. Read their profile on LinkedIn or other social networking profiles, search for anything they’ve written professionally.
- You vs. the Job. Prepare a brilliant answer to “Why are you the best candidate for this job?” OR, if the question is not asked, be prepared to leave the top 3 reasons why you are the best candidate in the closing section and any follow up e-mails. To do this, you need to study the job description, and be able to, concisely, state your value to THEM. They are the customer, you are the product.
Executives, Cut the Crap, Get a Job! You can win the job you want if you are prepared and can show why you are the best fit for THEIR position. Good luck!