Before accepting a job, it’s important to understand a few things about the company (and about yourself). The last thing you want to do is take a job now only to leave in six months because you’re miserable. Here are some things you should think about before accepting that job offer:
1. Do I like the people I’d be working with at this company?
The truth is, you’re not going to get along with everybody, and no everybody is going to get along with you. However, it’s important to realize that you’ll be spending the majority of your days with your co-workers. While you don’t necessarily have to be buddy-buddy with them, you want to make sure you can at least get along so you can work together effectively.
Make an effort to get to know the people you’d be working with before moving too far into the hiring process. This will not only help you learn who they are and if you’d be able to get along with them, but it’ll also strengthen your network within that company. Having good relationships with people who work within your target companies can increase your chances of getting referred in. Read more…
This question originally appeared on Quora: What do recruiters look for in a resume at first glance? Answer by Ambra Benjamin, Engineering Recruiter.
I don’t look through stacks of resumes anymore. I hate paper. I do everything online.
There has been for many decades, a mysterious Wizard of Oz-type viewpoint of the recruiting world that I think is somewhat misappropriated. People seem to be truly fascinated by what goes on behind the curtain, when in reality, recruiters aren’t running the covert operation many think. “Does this candidate seem like they stand a chance of being a good match for this role? If yes, proceed to next step. If no, reject.”
I’ll highlight how I personally absorb a resume. I should preface this by saying that currently I primarily recruit for senior-level software engineers. In my past life I recruited for PMs, MBAs, finance, sales, and pretty much all of it. Everything I’m about to say broadly applies to all of these fields. I also was a campus recruiter, and you read resumes of new grads a bit differently since experience is less meaty. So for non-new grads, here’s how it goes in my brain:
- Most recent role. I’m generally trying to figure out what this person’s current status is, and why/if they might even be interested in a new role. Have they only been in their last position for three months? If so, probably not the best time for me to reach out, right? Unless they work for Zynga, or somewhere tragic like that (said with great respect for Farmville, the app that put Facebook apps on the map). If it’s an incoming resume, I’m wondering why the candidate is looking now. Are they laid off? Did they get fired? Have they only been in their role for a few months and they’re possibly hating it? But most importantly, is their most recent experience relevant to the position for which I’m hiring?
- Company recognition. Not even gonna lie. I am a company snob. Now don’t get all Judgy McJudgerson about my judgy-ness. Hear me out. It’s not even that I think certain companies are better than others (although some most certainly are). It’s purely a matter of how quickly can I assign a frame of reference. This is also known as “credibility.” Oh you worked at Amazon? Then you’re probably accustomed to working on projects at scale. You’re at a well known crash-and-burn start-up? You have probably worn many hats and have been running at a sprinter’s pace. There are some pretty blatant if/then associations I can make simply by recognizing a company name. Because recruiters have generally been doing this job for awhile, we notice patterns and trends among candidates from certain companies and we formulate assumptions as a result. There are edge cases and our assumptions can fail us, but again, this is a resume review; we’re talking a less than 20-second analysis. Assigning frame of reference is often more difficult to do when a candidate has only worked for obscure companies I’ve never heard of. When I can’t assign company recognition, it just means I have to read the resume a little deeper, which usually isn’t an issue, unless it’s poorly formatted, poorly written, uninformative, and wrought with spelling errors—in which case, you might have lost my interest.
You finally got the call you’ve been waiting for: an invitation to interview for a job you’re really excited about. What do you need to do now to ensure you ace the interview?
Here are four steps that will position you as strongly as possible to wow your interviewer:
1. Research the company. It’s important to get familiar with the company you’ll be interviewing with. Understanding the context your interviewers are working in will help you have a more intelligent conversation.
This doesn’t mean simply memorizing facts about the company; there’s not a lot of utility in that. Rather, you’re looking for the answers to questions like these:
- How does the company see itself? What would its employees say makes it different from its competition?
- What is the company most known for?
- Has it been in the news lately? If so, for what?
- What are the company’s biggest current initiatives, projects, products or clients?
- What info can you find about the company’s culture and values?
- Roughly what size is the company?
- Who are the company’s key players? What kind of backgrounds do they bring to their roles?
If you come across as someone with a baseline understanding of these basics about the company, your interviewers will much more easily picture you in the job. Conversely, if you don’t seem to know any of this information, they’re likely to wonder how interested you really are and whether you even really understand what they do. Research the company before interviewing. Try to find out how the company sees itself, what it’s most known for and who its key players are.
You’ve worked hard on your resume, and you finally networked your way to the right person. This is your chance: you’ve got an interview!
What now? Wing it and hope for the best? Google for interview tips—and end up with the same template as everyone else? No, you’re smarter than that—and you need to stand out from the crowd.
Here are 13 tips on how you can do just that… and land your dream job:
1. Acknowledge Your Weaknesses
“What are your weaknesses?” is one of the most common interview questions, yet few people answer it honestly. They try to sidestep it or frame it as a positive thing—which is what most career counselors advise.
But we all recognize what this tactic really is: a facade. A better way to approach this question would be to acknowledge weaknesses that have nothing to do with the job you’re applying for. And tell the hiring manager what you’re doing to improve on them.
For example, it doesn’t matter if you’re not great with numbers if you’re applying to be a graphic designer. Or that you need to work on your presentation skills if you’re applying for a role that doesn’t require it, like a copywriter, consumer support, over-the-phone sales, etc.