What Type Of Information Should Candidates Research?
Many candidates research a public company’s annual report, looking for sales and profit figures, understanding what industry they are in, who the officers are, and the major events of the past year. They research historically. But few of these facts will help much in making your resume standout, or impressing an interviewer.
How can you make the most of your research time? Research prospectively – to gain insight on what’s happening now and what is expected within the company.
Think of research as finding information that falls into four categories: 1) Company Goals & Challenges; 2) Questions; 3) Culture.
- Goals & Challenges If you’ve already Stopped Looking for a Job and instead are looking for a problem you are uniquely qualified to solve (http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/03/would-you-stop-looking-for-job-already.html), then the process of research can be focused to find that problem. After you’ve found that problem that you’re uniquely qualified to solve, use the research as a background to craft your custom resume, showing how you’ve:
– Solved the exact challenge a company is facing
– Capitalized on the opportunities a company sees
– Broken through roadblocks to achieve the exact goals of your target company
– Solved problems that occur before or after a company has reached those goals
The higher in the organization you’re targeting, the bigger piece of the solution you’ll want to demonstrate on your resume. If you’re interviewing for a C-Level position, it’s easily see that you’ll want to show how you solved the whole problem or most of it (if it’s cross functional). But even if you are interviewing for an Administrative Assistant’s role, you can show how you contributed to increasing sales by developing sales, margin, or commission tracking systems, dashboards, and ways to quickly report information to management. You can even show how you’ve decreased costs by streamlining processes or travel vendors. These are all demonstrated that you contributed to solving company problems, even if only a small piece.
- Questions: If you’re preparing for an interview, you’ll want to look for questions. The most effective interview questions you can ask are questions you already know the answers to – and that lead the interviewer to bring up opportunities or challenges that you’ve already solved (see How To Take Control Of The Interview – http://recareered.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-to-take-control-of-interview.html).
Consider how you can turn company opportunities, challenges, roadblocks and problems into questions that address the problem, and break it down into the parts you want to discuss. Consider also how to turn these same facts into implication questions – what happens if the opportunity is missed, the challenge not met, the problem not solved? Finally, develop questions that “twist the knife” by monetizing the issue – How much will you lose if the opportunity is missed, how much will it cost if the problem is not solved?
Once you’ve monetized the problem, you’ve not only demonstrated more understanding than 99% of candidates, but you can also demonstrate that you are an inexpensive solution to that problem.
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