Walking into an interview? You better know what the company does and who its competitors are. Thinking of relocating for better career opportunities? You should know where to look for information on companies hiring in the area before moving.
Are you using research to your advantage in your job search? Take a look at these mistakes you may be making:
Mistake #1: Only looking at the company website.
If you’re a savvy Internet user, hopefully you realize that you don’t often get the “whole picture” of a company or a product by simply perusing its website alone. When you’re looking to buy an expensive product, you don’t just visit the manufacturer’s website, right? You probably type the product into Google and pull up customer reviews, comparisons to similar products, and reviews by prominent publications.
The same goes for your job search. In order to get the “whole picture” of an organization, don’t simply stop at its website. Look to company and employee social media accounts, YouTube videos, recent press mentions, product and service reviews, the company blog, and anything else that may come up in a Google search of the company.
Mistake #2: Not understanding the skills/qualifications that would benefit this company in particular.
Every company culture is different. So, although you may have the right number of years experience and the right degree, you might not be a right fit for the position. Thorough research of the company can tell you – beyond the job description – just what the hiring manager is looking for in an ideal candidate.
For example, if the position is virtual and calls for a self-starter with loads of motivation, and you realize that does not describe your personality, you might want to re-think applying with that particular company, despite seeming like a good fit in other ways.
Mistake #3: Not reviewing the hiring manager’s background.
The hiring manager is the person you’ll need to impress during the initial interview round. Although you may have the correct qualifications and education for the position, you also need to understand what the hiring manager is looking for in the “ideal” candidate. Through research, you can discover the type of individual they’re looking to find, along with uncovering any personal connections you might have with the manager. During the interview, you can touch upon these connections you might have to develop a stronger relationship with the manager.
Mistake #4: Not reviewing your potential boss’s background.
Your boss is someone who you’ll be interacting with every day. If you don’t get along with this individual, it can make your new job a nightmare! If you’re lucky, you can find this individual on social media sites or through a simple Google search to learn more about him. What’s his management style? What do former employees or co-workers say about him? What accomplishments or projects does he seem to be most proud of? Combing through his online profiles can give you a better idea of what your day-to-day experience will be like.
Mistake #5: Not knowing what you’re worth.
I’ve been guilty of this before in my career (read my free eBook about my past jobs to learn about my situations in more detail). Websites such as Glassdoor.com and PayScale can provide fairly accurate salary reports based on your experience, education and industry. However, it’s also important to have an idea of your bottom line – despite what the “average” pay rate is. Are you willing to work for less at your dream position? Or do you need a certain pay rate to support your current lifestyle? Salary negotiations can be tough—so make sure you know when to walk away if it’s not right for you.
What other job hunt research mistakes do job seekers make? How can they avoid these mistakes?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.