by Allison Kapner
How are dating and interviewing the same? Let’s examine Step 3: Prepping for the interview or date, otherwise known as: Doing Your Research!
Research, research, research!!
I cannot stress this enough: Before any interview, do your homework. (I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but it still bears repeating. You can’t imagine how many people ignore this advice.)
Know the company inside and out. Look at their press releases. Read their annual reports. Find out who works there. (You can use a little thing called social media/social networking to do this.)
Why is this so important? There are hundreds of applicants for every job, and you have to prove that you did your homework on the company and the position if you want to make it to round two.
Be able to answer the question: Why do you want to work at XYZ Company? If you give a generic answer to this question, you’re done. Focusing on the culture shows that you understand the type of people that work there and that you believe you would be a good fit. As someone who interviews candidates for our team, if someone doesn’t tell me something unique about Carey Business School, and instead says “I want to work here because it’s Johns Hopkins,” they are automatically disqualified in my eyes.
Using LinkedIn and Google can also help you lean about the people with whom you are interviewing. For all you know, you can might share an alma mater with the hiring manager… but you’ll never know that unless you look.
So how does research play into dating?
Well, let’s be honest. In dating, research can be a bit stickier. But if you’re anxious to get a head’s up on the person before you go on a date there is always Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. You’d be lying if you said you never Google-stalked someone before going out or hanging out with them. Here’s a hint for you: Make sure to clear your internet browser history when you’re done, because if things go well, this new special someone may be on your computer before you know it and see you’ve been doing your “research.” (Trust me I learned this the hard way!)
In an earlier post knowing your brand and who you are is stressed. This is 100% true!
Before going on an interview, understand who you are as a person, what you want, what your strengths and weaknesses are and what value proposition you provide to a company. For example, are you someone that will bring energy and enthusiasm to a job? If so, how do you articulate that? It’s not enough to just say you bring energy and enthusiasm. You have to show how. With concrete examples, preferably.
Likewise for dating, know what your goals and objectives are and the type of person with which you could see yourself. (I’m not advising to pick out the person down to their eye color but know what your “must haves” and “can’t stands” are.) Why is this so important? Everyone is in their own unique place in life. Knowing what you are looking for will be a great compass in pointing you in the direction of someone who is looking for the same things, meaning (hopefully) less disappointment.
If you’re unclear of what I mean by this, I’ll give you a personal example. When I was living in NYC and accepted the job offer to come to JHU, I wasn’t going to be leaving New York for a few months. I didn’t actively seek out dates during this time. I had dated someone long distance for a year and didn’t want to get back into that situation again. However, if I met someone cool, I also wasn’t about to turn down dinner! Instead, I would enjoy the time with the person while knowing in my head – and heart – that I wasn’t about to jump into a relationship. On the flip side, now that I’m here and settled, my expectations have shifted and a relationship is the goal.
Bottom line, research yourself and the players and you’ll be successful!
Allison Kapner is a Relationship Manager in Career Services at the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School where she is responsible for building partnerships with employers to ultimately create job and internship opportunities for students and alumni. She also advises and coaches students on job search techniques and brings a unique corporate expertise to assist candidates, as her past experience was as an Executive Recruiter in financial services in New York City.Google+