One of my favorite questions to ask when I interview job applicants is: “How did you find out about our company?” This innocent question sounds simple enough to answer, but out of the many questions that I ask, this one has allowed me to uncover the qualities and competence of the many people I interview.
Last month, I interviewed a person who was currently working as an English Trainer for a Call Center. I was interviewing him for a Freelance Resource Speaker position in my company. When I asked him how he found out about this job opening, he mentioned that he saw it on the internet and that he went to our website and filled up an online application form. This surprised me a bit, because we do not have a form to fill out in the careers page of our company website— just an email address where interested applicants can send their resumes.
When I clarified this to him, he realized he was referring to another company and even asked me for the name of my company! I then had to patiently probe, “You do know that as mentioned by my staff and written in the printed application form that you just filled up minutes ago that I am interviewing you for a Freelance Resource Speaker position, right?” To this, he embarrassedly explained, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I currently work as a night-shift Trainer at a Call Center. And I want to resign from it and get a job as a day-time, full-time teacher.”
Realizing his mistake in going to an interview with a different company and for the wrong position, he politely excused himself.
As for me, I simply had to laugh it all off. Oh well, that’s all part of the interview process—to weed out people who are inappropriate and who do not have the basic competence for the job. You know, those applicants who do not read job ads carefully, those who do not take the time to research about a company they are interviewing with and those who fail to see the big and highly visible signage in front of our reception area. Haha…
And this leads me to the important lesson and tool that I want to share with Job Seekers today. I know that many of you tend to send resumes to several companies. Some even go as far as emailing hundreds and thousands of companies all at the same time. Here is my advice.
Don’t Send Your Resume Indiscriminately to All Companies that You See
This is a sure-fire way for you to waste your time and energy. Instead of sending a generic resume to all companies that you see in the classified ads, determine first what industry and field you want to work for or have experience in.
Read the Job Advertisement Carefully
What is the job scope, responsibilities and qualifications? Do they match your background and experience? Is it full-time work, part-time, freelance? Where is the company located? How far is it from your place and will you be able to handle the commute?
Tailor-fit Your Letter and Resume
Once you have zeroed in on a few companies that are appropriate for you, be sure to tailor-fit your letter or email message, as well as adjust your resume to highlight accomplishments and experiences that you have that the company you are applying for needs.
Research about the Company Before Your Interview
If you get called in for an interview, google the company you are interviewing with and browse through their website the night before the interview. This will allow you to ask intelligent questions and show the recruitment officer that you take your career seriously.
When you get to their office, observe the area. If there are brochures or flyers, read them.
Track Your Job Hunting Activities
With all the resumes that you send out and the interviews that you go through, sometimes it is very difficult to remember names and places. I highly recommend that you start a Job Hunt Journal to help you get organized. Doing so will give you many benefits like:
- Save time, effort and money
- Be organized and efficient
- Avoid applying to the same company twice
- Help you track, follow up and assess your status with the company
- Avoid embarrassing moments like the one I just shared
How to Start Your Job Hunt Journal?
It doesn’t really matter what material you use as long as it works for you. You can use a simple notebook, your daily planner, or a computer software program… But make sure to record important details such as:
- Account name and password for job sites
- Company name & contact details
- Position applied for and date applied
- Copy of Job ads answered
- Date Resume Sent
- Resume and Cover Letter Submitted
- Date of Interview (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
- Interview details (contact person’s name and number, salary range you asked for, etc)
- Actions taken and results
- Follow-up activities
Be sure to update this every time you do any job hunting activity. Review this before interviewing with a company or following up your job application as this will save you time and avoid stupid mistakes. Most important of all, you will learn how to be organized and efficient—two important qualities that I and many Business and HR people look for in employees.
|Jhoanna O. Gan-So is president of Businessmaker Academy and HR Club Philippines. Her organization offers public seminars and in-house training on Human Resource Management and Business Skills Development. You may email your comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org|