Monday, October 28, 2013


Very little is guaranteed in today’s business world. A lack of certainty in the global economy cannot only take its toll on your everyday life, but it can also be a dark cloud on your job search. In an effort to educate the active and/or passive job seeker, today I will provide the best advice I can give as a subject-matter expert in the recruitment and interviewing space: Do Your Homework! The worse thing that any job seeker can do is to apply to a job or company that they have not fully researched.

As recruiting professionals, we have all dealt with the active job seeker who reads the job title, assumes they fully know the duties that go along with the job, and without any real thought, applies for the job - This is a HUGE mistake! On the other end of the spectrum are the passive job seekers who hear about a great job, get lost in the role, and never take the time to research the company - Another MAJOR mistake!

So let’s explore this from both angles. Your resume should not only represent your credentials and qualifications, but it should also leave a lasting impression on the individuals that review it. By applying to jobs without fully reading the entire job description, it reads as a detriment to your character—more than you may realize. Applying carelessly can be seen as a lack of maturity and professionalism, and believe it or not, it creates a very memorable impression in the mind of the recruiter!

On the other hand, large scale layoffs are all too common nowadays, and often the last employees in are the first ones out. This is important to keep in mind when looking for a new employer. Some companies are more stable than others, and you owe it to yourself to thoroughly research those you are considering before making a commitment.

The following are 5 Things Every Job Candidate Should Do when Applying for a Job:

Ask the difficult questions about your potential new opportunity: Before uprooting your life to make a career move, try to see past the hiring manager’s rosy pitch or the recruiter’s hard sell by asking questions around things they might not be telling you.

For example:

Who is the owner/President/CEO, and what are their backgrounds?
What the current and past revenues - are they growing, shrinking, or flat, and why?
Who are the competitors, and what is their competitive advantage?
Why is the role vacant - is it a new role, or what happened to the prior individuals who held the role?
What is the bandwidth of the company - what resources will you have or not to accomplish the objectives of your new role?

Google Everything: When making the decision to apply for a new job opportunity, you want to know everything you possibly can find out about that role, the company, and their people prior to making that decision. Dig into the many resources out there and get an idea if the job and company will still be there a year after you take it.

Use Social Media: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are all great resources while researching a company. Many have their own profiles where they post updates about company news, products, and promotions.

Network: Sometimes, it’s all about who you know. It’s interesting when you really start putting the feelers out there to your network what type of information you can gather.

Read the Fundamentals: Probably the easiest (but also probably the one thing most people just don’t do) is read the company’s website. Learn what they do and who they do it for, check out the 'about us' page, download their white papers, and read their blog.

Here at Excelsior, we often begin interviews by telling candidates this: our job is to help our clients hire the right person for the role, and in doing so, we believe we have an obligation to help you, the candidate, determine if this role and company is a match for you as well. No single source ever reflects the whole story. Doing your homework will help you outshine your competition in an interview while providing you the context to decide if that dream offer really is the right fit for you.

Written by Excelsior, Inc.'s Director of Talent Acquisition, James Moore.  Read Excelsior’s blog here.

I would add a 6th tip to help any Job Seeker - Make sure your background is as clean as possible.  While "googling" your potential new company, why not Google yourself?  Finding out what is "out there" about you before you apply for a new job helps if you need to mitigate anything the hiring company may find!  Read more of my tips in "Why You Should Run a Background Check on Yourself!".

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