Taking off your mortarboard, you suddenly realize that you’re finally free in the open ocean of the job market. You also recognize that competitors are always on alert. So how to be that yesterday’s student who gets his best job ever on the first try? The answer is simple - do not neglect the preparation step before diving into the interview process and take the details seriously. Job seeking newcomers tend to ignore the reality, having their head in the clouds until a potential employer brings him back to earth with a we’ll-call-you-back response. To minimize the number of such answers, let’s get down to the interview preparation.
The Insider Info And Where To Get It
So now you know that going on an interview without having background information about an employer is like going to war unarmed. Insider information is your most valuable asset, even more valuable than a CV or covering letter. Fortunately, you can learn what happens behind closed doors without physically sneaking into a company’s building. Instead, there’s a list of absolutely legal ways to get relevant insider information.
Start From The Obvious: Official Website
The answers often hide in the open. As soon as you visit a company’s website, you’ll get the most vital information you must know to sound solid and fact-based on the interview. For instance, you’ll see its strongest assets and specialties, which help a company stay different and, therefore, competitive. The website will also give you an insight into a financial situation, providing a list of investors, partners, and performance reports. Being well-equipped with factual information is always impressive.
Investigate Social Media Presence
Another precious pool of information about a company lies in the most popular social media. Any enterprise now understands the power of informal media to enlarge their audience, increase revenue, and stay on the same wavelength with the client. Posting updates on Instagram, announcing the release of new products on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn, or making regular overviews on YouTube is a great efficient way to promote a company as a brand. However, it’s not just about the product. It’s also about the corporate culture, its values, and goals to target both potential clients and prospective employees.
The name speaks for itself. Glassdoor provides diverse information about anything an applicant may be interested in: salaries of different positions, employees’ feedback on the company’s drawbacks or benefits, even some common interview tasks and questions. Glassdoor is mostly anonymous, and less satisfied people tend to write reviews more than satisfied ones. So be ready to filter the information and generate your own idea, picking out those comments that really matter.
The Muse is targeted at introducing companies by giving a 360° overview. It includes both physical and social media addresses of an enterprise, highlights its key-features and goals, posts reviews from all kinds of people who are somehow involved in the company’s work. In other words, The Muse creates bright and clear pictures of millions of companies to reduce the amount of pre-interview homework an applicant usually does.
Although women's position in the job market now looks better than ever, there are still some niches where men take the lead. Fairygodboss is a source of valuable information for women-applicants regarding salaries, health insurance, maternity benefits, and those matters which are more in focus for female job seekers. Fairygodboss also acts as a forum where women from different walks of life can share advice on career-life balance, confidence, and lifehacks on climbing a career ladder in predominately male niches.
If the company you’re thinking of as your first job offer seems like a dark horse, with no information at third-party sources, try Quora. Basically, it’s a Q&A platform that provides you with answers on various topics, based on people’s knowledge, experience, or even rumors. If you look for a pool of contrast opinions about a particular company or position, the platform is an excellent tool for such research.
This platform is a perfect all-in-one place, where you not only can find millions of job offers but learn about salaries and read trustful reviews before application. CareerBliss’s philosophy lies in the understanding that a job is a vital part of our life, which influences its other aspects. Instead of focusing on employers, they put more emphasis on applicants, helping them find a happy place, not just an average tiring job. They have even created their own score system, which is based on employees’ company satisfaction.
8 Questions To Ask Before Signing a Job Contract
Running desperately across the job market, it’s necessary to stop and think about what you’re actually looking for. It’s also vital to get rid of illusions like “every job is a toil” or “whatever I find, it won’t satisfy me anyway”. Finding a great job at the first shot is possible. It’s just a matter of motivation and a clear goal. So before settling down at a questionable place, make sure not to regret it afterward. How to ensure this? Ask questions.
1) What is the salary scale like for your position?
Negotiating about salary is clearly one of the most important matters when it comes to an interview process. Base salary ranges from company to company a lot, so relying on your previous money paid or on some rumors is not a good strategy. Apart from the salary, benefits really matter. For instance, is moving places or health insurance covered? If an offered job requires moving, don’t forget to compare the proposed salary with the costliness of the place you’re moving to. The cost of living varies greatly across the country.
2) Will the position require changing my life balance?
If you’re applying for a responsible position, be ready that some enterprises require full engagement at work, meaning long hours, extra tasks, late-night client calls, and unexpected staff meetings. Even if the salary covers all the “extras”, some people may not be able to survive in such an unbalanced schedule.
3) Does collaboration play an important role in the organization?
The spirit of unity, friendship, and collectivism is a powerful base for any institution's effective work. If a company can create and maintain a collaborative spirit and pleasant atmosphere, you’re likely to enjoy the place.
4) Does the position open new perspectives?
Nobody would like to get stuck in a dead-end place, especially if that is your first job. Having some space to grow and develop your skills is vital for gaining valuable experience and retaining motivation to aim for something bigger. Otherwise, you’ll put paid not only on your career but on all the other life aspects as well.
5) Does the company offer any courses for further skillset development?
The majority of successful enterprises are interested in providing extra education for their employees to enhance their qualifications and encourage loyalty to the company. Additional education at a potential employer’s expense is always great. The more you’re offered - the better.
6) Which skills are crucial for the position I’m aiming at?
The answer to this question will help you to be more realistic when comparing yourself to the person they want to see. It will also make you focus on certain skills you might lack and develop them to be a perfect fit for the job. Asking questions about what they (not you) need will definitely win recruiters over.
7) What should I get ready for?
Any job has its particular challenges, and it’s better to know about them before you face them. They may be connected with schedule, amount of tasks, their innovative nature, or anything else. In this question, you may also ask about a typical day of a person in your position and to see if it goes along with your expectations.
8) What is the next step to be taken?
If you’re okay with the answers to the previous questions and still want to take the job, it would be logical to ask about the following interview process stages, as they may include tests, trial projects, or some other kind of your professional examination to get ready with.
How To Make An Employer Fall For Your Candidacy
A recruiter looks through hundreds of resumes and meets up with dozens of people to find the one. How to make yourself remembered and taken on board?
Be Concise And Narrow-Targeted
First, it is applicable to your CV. Leave cliches like “I’m looking for a place to uncover my potential” and platitudes like that. Tell something more accurate, job-connected. Show that you’ve made a research about the company and you can clearly imagine what you want from the offered position.
Focus On Your Strengths
Even if you’re a student with a lack of experience in the field, you can always turn your weaknesses into attractive pros. For instance, recent graduates are always a source of fresh ideas, innovative soft skills, and immense motivation that a company may consider as a valuable asset.
There Won’t Be a Second Time To Make The First Impression
Applying for a job, be ready to revise everything you’ve heard about making a great first impression:
- Dress appropriately, be confident and polite, honest, and active.
- Always carry a pen and paper in case of a sudden call inviting you for an interview.
- Pull yourself together for some time to snag your potential employer.
And remember, the loss and a try cost you nothing but give you valuable experience!
The Final Thought
Being a job seeker is an incredible experience of diving into reality, assessing yourself, gaining confidence, and getting a clear understanding of what you really want from your future job. This process requires considerable preparation, CV adjustments, and an efficient search plan to avoid getting lost in applications and callbacks. But at the end of the day, you’ll see for yourself that getting the best first job offer is not a fairytale but a tangible reality.