Quality Progress - December 2017 - 16
Advice to advance your career
A few weeks ago, I spoke to a longtime acquaintance, Susan, who recently had a job interview
for an entry-level inspection position at a computer hardware organization.
"Hey Sue! I heard you had an interview. How did it
go?" I asked.
"It went great. The pay is more than what I make
now, and I think they really liked me. They're planning to hire 10 people, and the woman I interviewed
with told me she would let me know by Friday
whether I got the job," she replied.
"That's excellent. What's the name of the organization?" I asked.
"Oh gosh, I can't remember. Hold on, I have that
woman's card somewhere," she said.
That's when I got a sinking feeling in my stomach.
I knew Susan had been on several interviews during
the past year and each time, to her confusion and
disappointment, she received a rejection letter. I
was starting to understand why. From our brief conversation, I knew Susan had made two crucial errors
in her job hunting process:
1. She failed to research the organization before her
2. She failed to follow up with the organization after
I have worked in engineering and quality management for the past 20 years and have had the
privilege of participating in the hiring process of
my subordinates and many of my colleagues. I've
December 2017 ❘ qualityprogress.com
Easy-but often forgotten-tactics that will
set you apart from other job candidates
by Ray Harkins
interviewed many potential job candidates and have discovered a
few opportunities to make a substantial impact that unsuccessful
candidates often miss. Failing to research the organization you're
interviewing with is almost always a deal breaker.
These days, when even small organizations have websites, it's
nearly effortless to garner a basic understanding of an organization's product or service line, corporate structure and executive
staff. With a little more digging through social media outlets, online
trade journals and local media sources, you can learn about recent
changes in the organization, such as expansions or downsizings, or
even hints about why it's hiring for the position you're eyeing.
With all these opportunities to understand the inner workings of
an organization, failing to have at least a few relevant facts about
it prior to your interview almost is as bad as not showing up at all.
It says to the hiring manager that you're interested in getting a
paycheck, but not really interested in investing in the organization
for the long haul.
As Ryan Caldbeck, contributing author at Entrepreneur
magazine, said, "If a candidate hasn't prepared-and, ideally,
over-prepared-for this critical first meeting, what can we expect
on a typical Tuesday in the role?"1
Knowing this, one of the best questions I can ask a candidate
early in the interview is, "Tell me, Bob-what do you know about
this organization?" His answer to that question sets the pace for
the rest of the interview. If Bob says, "I don't really know what you
guys do," the rest of the interview is just a formality.
Conversely, a well-prepared candidate not only answers that
question proficiently, but also weaves his or her knowledge of the
organization into the rest of the interview.
One thing to keep in mind while rummaging for information
about your prospective employer: You may find some skeletons
in its closet, such as a CEO's recent termination, a pending lawsuit
or a similar scandal. Unattractive tidbits such as these may spare
you the woes of accepting the wrong job offer. Typically, it's best
to keep any dirt to yourself, at least through the first interview. This
will give you time to gain a broader perspective of the organization
and perhaps give them a chance to bring it up themselves.