Monday, July 20, 2009

Beyond Social Media: You've Got the Interview - NOW WHAT?

So, I’ve used the social media tools I’ve been sharing with you through my job search experience. It’s great to use the tools to get to know the people on the inside, and now it’s time to learn more about the outside, and about the big picture. Let’s face it, you will be working with these people, but unless you do your homework about the company and the industry environment, how much value can you add over another candidate? And when the tools to do it are FREE, you’ve got NO excuse! So here are five tips for you (my other tips must have worked, right? I interview Thursday!):

1. Library Internet Resources.

I don’t know if your library has free home internet access available, but my local Wayne Public Library, has loads of free online databases, where you can look up company information, and maybe a little bit more about who works there. If you want to be in the game, don’t you want to know who else is on the team? I think the most helpful tool that came up for me was a SWOT analysis (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) of the company, so I could learn more about issues they are facing on a larger scale.

2. Industry resources.

Another FREE tool is given to you by our U.S. government’s Census Bureau. You can pull up information on an industry, and there’s a search on the upper right that can get you started.

3. Your company in the news.

Ok, so you’ve probably googled the company and maybe came up with their website first (if they’ve got a good ranking, that is!), and then some news items further down the list. But have you clicked on the “News” tab? See what comes up…but if it’s not good news, I really wouldn’t share it in any communications, especially on an interview! Keep it in your back pocket if you need to, if at all. Or if it’s too shady for your comfort zone, then maybe it’s best you found out before your interview so you can decide if this is the right company for YOU.

There HAS to be some industry-specific trade publication for your organization. See if your librarian can help you find it when you’re getting your library card to use tool #1 in this post, or maybe it’s online. Search for the company’s industry + publication, and see what comes up. Or maybe you already pulled it up in google on your first search. Learn what issues the company is facing. Is their business cyclical?

5. LinkedIn Groups

Do you know any of the people in the organization? You could look them up, but not just stop there, and look at the places they might have worked, but what about the groups they belong to? What better way to use social media than join the conversation where you know you have a better chance of being heard?

So, I’ve got an interview lined up on Thursday with a company I very much want to work for. When I’m up at bat, I know I’ve gotta aim to hit it out of the park (nothing but “lot” if you’re a ball fan), and you can, too. I don’t think any MLB player gets where they are because they’re the #1 team fan, right?

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