Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2016 Contents B5
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
So you had a professional resume prepared, you
passed the initial phone screening, and now you
have been invited into your first face-to-face inter-
view with an employer. Here are some great tips
that most people do not know that can help you
gain a competitive edge.
Before the Interview...
1. Check out the interviewer and the hiring man-
The more you know about the person who makes the
hiring decision, the better you can focus your conver-
In your phone screening you should always ask for
the name of the person the position reports to. Armed
with this information you can research their background.
If you are not interviewing with the hiring manager
in this first round, ask for the name of the individual(s)
who will be interviewing you. Then, do your research
about them before the meeting. Where have they worked
(did you work for the same or a similar company)? What
was their career path (do you have a similar path)? Do
you have a school or location in common with them?
This helps you build rapport with your interviewer
and remember -- people hire people they like.
So, your job is not only to impress them with
your skills and experience, but also to get
them to like you and want to work with you.
LinkedIn will tell you all sorts of information
including how long they have been there and
where they came from.
Be sure to see what LinkedIn Groups they
belong to, who they are following, their inter-
ests and projects, whether you know anyone
in common, and if they have posted comments
Also see if they are active on Twitter and
check out their tweets as these give a glimpse
into their personality.
2. Search for former employees.
In LinkedIn you can search for past employ-
ees and may also find the person who held
the job before. Here you will find a rich source
of insights, and information regarding the
position, the manager, and the corporate cul-
Regarding the request, the best way to ask
for information is to use something like the
"I found you on LinkedIn and noticed that
your background includes working at ABC. I
am interviewing there and wondered if you
could answer just a few questions as a random
act of kindness. I promise not to take much
of your time and thank you in advance."
You can also search your college alumni
database to see if anyone worked there. A fel-
low "alum" is generally more likely to respond
to your request than someone with whom
you have nothing in common.
3. Research the company.
Of course you will check the company out
by viewing their web site and press releases.
You should also see their presence on Twitter
(and follow them), Facebook, LinkedIn, and
even YouTube. That s all pretty standard.
Here are some other things you can do,
which vary depending on the type of position
you are seeking.
If you are seeking a sales position then try
to "mystery shop" the company. Just call the
company and indicate you are interested in
knowing more about their products and serv-
ices. Pay attention to your conversation with
the sales person and see if you can identify
any flaws. Then, call a competitor and see
I know a sales professional who, when
meeting with the manager, said "By the way
I mystery shopped your firm and your com-
petitors. Would you like to know what I found
out?" This caused the interview to go from
a 30 minute timeframe to over an hour, and
clearly distinguished him from the other can-
For a marketing role, try to determine how
they generate interest and brand awareness.
Check out the web site reviewing the user
engagement and experience.
Also look for them on social media
(LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc.),
and see how many followers, likes and so on
See what kinds of offers and interaction
they offer. You can probably see what ad
agency they are using by just doing a Google
Then, see if you can intelligently comment
on what they are doing, and formulate ques-
FINANCE / ACCOUNTING
For these kinds of positions, look for their
financial statements and press releases. This
is simpler for a public firm, but you can find
basic information for pretty much any organ-
Check out their key financial ratios, read
the Management Discussion & Analysis (MDA)
on the annual reports so you are better armed
than other candidates in your discussions.
You have probably already applied for the
position so remember the experience. Was it
cumbersome and time consuming? Are there
improvements you can imagine? Are they
using social media to find talent?
LinkedIn is a great way to identify the key
technologies they are using by simply looking
at the profiles of their current IT personnel.
See what groups people have joined. Also
check out discussions on LinkedIn and Twit-
Google the name of the CIO to see if they
have appeared in articles. Additionally search
for articles in Computerworld, CIO, and other
leading publications to see what topics they
Look for advertised positions on Dice, and
note if there are specific technologies or posi-
tions they are trying to fill.
At the Interview...
4. Be prepared.
Did you know that you create a lasting
impression in just 120 seconds?
Here are some things you need to consider
to impress them.
Bring copies of your resume.
There is nothing that stalls an interview
faster than when the manager says s/he forgot
your resume, and you do not have an extra
Practice your handshake.
Your only and immediate physical intimacy
is with your handshake, so practice it on your
family members. Good tip: if you are con-
cerned that your palms may be sweaty, sprinkle
a little baby powder in your pocket.
Make eye contact and smile.
Show that you are happy to be there and
looking forward to the discussion. People instinc-
tively react well to happy, smiling people.
Put some bounce in your step. Act like you
are excited to be there, and are filled with
Do not overdress. You can also call the
receptionist and ask what the dress code is.
Receptionists generally love to help.
Be aware from the time you hit the lobby.
Assume you are on camera at all times.
Treat the receptionist well as some firms will
ask them for their impression.
Prepare answers to the common job inter-
Standard questions are usually asked by
most employers. Be prepared for those ques-
tions by relating your answers to this specific
employer, based on your research.
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