Talent Strategy

Preparation - Three Steps to Success

Step One: Know Thyself

The first step is to review your own qualifications. This step will make you much more organised and fluent during the interview. You'll be less likely to have regrets after the interview about what you failed to mention if you review the following areas of your background in relation to the requirements of the position: 

  • Education, course work, seminars
  • Skills and abilities
  • Work experience
  • Extracurricular activities and their value to you
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Values, likes and dislikes--especially as they pertain to your work life
  • Career goals--clearly and precisely stated

To prepare in this area you may want to take vocational assessment tests, work with a career counselor, buy a workbook, or simply sit down with a pencil and paper and make some notes. Whatever your approach, don't omit this step!

Step 2: Know The Employer

A standard part of most interviews is a question about your knowledge of the employer. It is imperative to do your homework. A weak answer to this question is devastating. These are the areas to learn about:

  • History of the organization
  • Products and/or services
  • Primary clientele
  • Current earnings
  • Organizational structure, hierarchy, chief officers
  • Major competitors
  • Ranking among competitors
  • Reputation
  • Parent company and subsidiaries
  • Prospects for growth

To research an organization, make use of the Internet, the Career Services Center Library, the reference sections of the university libraries, local public libraries, and chambers of commerce. Consult annual reports, newsletters, and trade association publications.

These are just a few of the sites to check on the Internet:

  • The company homepage -- you can most likely locate it through Google
  • The Riley Job Hunting Guide
  • JobTrak

Step 3: Know The Position

You should have a good idea of what the job entails, both in general, and as it exists in the particular organization to which you are applying. When researching: the position look for this type of information:

  • A typical job description
  • Skills required
  • Personal traits that are desirable in this field
  • Salary information
  • Growth in the field--how competitive is it?
  • Current trends and major issues in the field