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Three Big Reasons You Are Expected to Do Your Homework About Potential Employers
Posted By: Eddie Francis on December 27, 2015

You have to know what you’re getting yourself into when you apply for a job. Let’s say your résumé passes the initial review and you get an invitation for a phone interview. In my capacity as a recruiter, that is often where I am the gatekeeper. If I like what I hear, then I will forward you to the major decision-makers. That’s when it is really time to impress hiring managers and one non-negotiable expectation is that you will have done some level of research on the company or organization.

Here is why we expect you to do some level of homework before interviews:

1. We want to see how you view yourself as part of the company's culture.
The better you know your skill set and personality, the better an idea you get of how you fit into the fabric of an organization. If you have not done so, take a professional career assessment to get an idea of the kinds of environments that are best for you. At the same time, take time to learn about the organization's environment.

For example, my biggest strength is communication; and my assessments have all pointed to my need to be in environments where flexibility exists, risk-taking is rewarded, and employees love to communicate. As a result, I ask questions to gauge the personalities and activity of work environments.

2. Your level of research gives a clue about your work ethic as well as your critical thinking skills.
Is your idea of research visiting the home page of a web site or is it reading articles and blogs about the company? The candidate who can recite the mission of a company to the hiring manager is one thing. The candidate who asks questions about that mission as well as reads articles and employee reviews is another thing.

This is also about digging for information. The more information you find and the less fearless you are about asking hard questions, the more respect you get from good companies—note the word “good.” Companies that don’t appreciate being investigated by potential employees are probably not worth your time.

3. It’s about vision.
Good employers value candidates with vision. Vision tells us that you take your talents seriously and it tells us that you have goals. While vision is important, it is not about having very detailed goals but rather a notion of where you want to be. Asking questions gives the employer an idea of your vision and tells them there is a good chance you would value the company or organization as well.

Photo courtesy of Adrian Escalante
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