This is the third article in a multipart series on job search research …
Superior information is one of the three things successful job seekers use to win in today’s job market. Superior information doesn’t just appear … you need superior research to get superior information.
Information is power. Superior information can separate you from other candidates, it can help you brand yourself as the superior candidate, and you can use superior information to make a first impression on people you’ve never met in the hiring process.
Why should you care about people you’ve never met at the company?
There are a number of people that influence who will get interviews and who will eventually be chosen for hire – you’ll never meet many of these people in the interview process. Yet they can still help determine if you’ll be hired or even interviewed – many of the readers you’ve never met look for fit.
HR reps/recruiters (and small company admins) consider fit in pre-screening. As part of the pre-screening process, their roles are to weed out those who don’t meet requirements, those who are undesirable (such as lying on resume or criminal record), and those who don’t match the company culture … or fit.
At the end of the process, the hiring manager’s boss, peers and team consider fit among finalists, when they are asked to provide their input to select the winning candidate. Since many in this group have likely never met you, they primarily base their decision on fit demonstrated on your resume.
How can you influence people you’ve never met?
One way is to minimize the number of influencers who you haven’t met – by contacting more of them and meeting them (pre-interview is best).
However, it’s impossible to identify all the hiring influencers in most companies. So you’ll still want to influence people you haven’t met.
Research presents your best chances to influence people you’ve never met, that you’ll fit within an organization.
You can research fit by researching the internal language of a company. You’ll want to concentrate on how a company communicates. To understand fit don’t focus on what they say, as much as how they say it.
Understanding Formal and Informal Company Language
To influence fit, you’ll want to gain an understanding of both formal and informal company language.
Finding a company’s formal language is easy – just look at their website, press releases, financial statements, and public company communications (including social media, YouTube and blogs). A company’s formal language is how the company communicates to the public – to customers, vendors, investors, and others outside the company.
A company’s informal language is how employees communicate with one another inside the company. Understanding company informal language is a little more challenging, but provides much greater gains. This understanding can come from talking to and meeting with people inside the organization, again focusing on how employees state answers.
Focus on the language, terms, phrases, jargon and metrics employees use to describe how they operate.
This requires a dual focus when you talk to company insiders. You’ll want to discover the priority problems of the hiring manager (see http://www.recareered.com/blog/2012/02/06/job-search-research-understanding-company-problems-part-2/).
But you’ll also want to understand how this information is presented – the language, terms, phrases, jargon and metrics.
So what should you do with all this language information?
Use it – adopt it into your own communications with a target employer.
Replace the language of your past employers with the language of your target company. Act as if you were already working at your target employer, using jargon, terms, and metrics of your target employer in your resume and when you talk to employees. Use the company’s own language during interviews.
When you use a company’s own language, you create a distinct impression – that you ‘get it’. You make a gut-feel impression on hiring managers and influencers that you understand them (and that they understand you), that they can talk to you …
… even people you’ve never met.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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