The vast majority of jobs available today are not in the Fortune 500 or large established organizations. They are in the small startup growth companies that are fueling our country's recovery and employment.
Getting a job in one of these organizations is different than getting a job in a large established organization and if you know a few simple tricks it's much easier. Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, introduced the concept of working for free in order to get to where you want to be. When looking for a position in a small growth startup company, working for free is critical. Let me clarify I'm certainly not suggesting that you go volunteer your time at every company you want to work for - that would be impractical. What I am emphatically suggesting is that you understand the organizations to which you were applying incredibly well.
By working for free I mean studying, understanding, knowing in and out the organizations to which you're applying so that when you finally do get in front of the hiring manager you can show them that this is more than an interview for you -- this is a goal that you're going to achieve. I'm constantly surprised by how many applicants come into our organization, sit down for an interview and know nothing about who we are or our company. Our organization, like most, has a tremendous amount of information about us online; it is readily available.
When we would sit down with someone who understands who we are as a culture, the types of activities we participate in, and what our goals are as a company we are instantly impressed we know that that individual is going to be someone who actually wants to work with us and understands our mission. When we sit down with someone who is clueless about our company even though there's a tremendous amount available about us we feel let down and know that it's just someone trying to get through as many job interviews as they can until they get lucky.
Don't be that person.
Given the amount of information available today about organizations to which you are applying it should be easy for you to understand everything there is to know about the organization and why you are a good (if not the perfect) fit. More importantly, by studying the organization you will be able to find out if you're not a good fit; this is every bit as valuable as finding those organizations that you should apply to. There are four simple areas you can look for information about any company.
- Look on the company's website - understand the goals and objectives, who they are, and what is their history. Be ready to discuss this in the interview and why your background matches with theirs.
- Search your local business journal - companies work very hard to get mentioned or quoted in business journals. If one of the executives has been mentioned or quoted be ready to congratulate them.
- Review local award lists - awards like Best Places to Work and Healthiest Employer are very important to the companies that win them. Not only is it a good idea for you to know if the company where you are applying is on these lists, these lists are a great place to look for companies where you can apply.
- Social media - search LinkedIn or Twitter or Facebook for information on the company where you are applying. Don't be afraid to contact current employees that you will be working with and see what they think about the company.
- Know your Interviewer - Simply ask who will be interviewing you and look them up. There are countless resources where you can find out about the person you are talking to.
Today more than any time in history the tools you need to get noticed, then get hired are available to you in the public domain. This makes it inexcusable to go to any job interview without having everything you need to command attention.
Do a little work before you actually get the job and you'll end up exactly where you want to be.