The Job Interview - Know Your Company
There is an old adage that goes "Know Your Enemy". It means that you will do a better job of defeating an enemy if you know a lot about them. If your enemy is the other person trying to get the same job you are, then rewrite the adage to say "Know Your Company."
If you have done enough legwork to get a job interview at a company, don't stop your hard work there. Especially with an entry-level job as a new college graduate, you are going to have a lot of competition. You probably are already at about the same level in terms of experience and education as all of your competitors. So, what are you going to do to make yourself stand out on that job interview?
One of the smartest things you can do is go in knowing a lot about the company and about the job you want. Most interviewers are going to ask you this question - "Why do you want to work for us?" I have asked that question hundreds of times when interviewing prospective employees.
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Some of the worst answers I have been given:
"Because I need a job"
"I really would like to live in (name your town)."
"I am ready for my next challenge"
All generic answers that don't tell me anything about the person, but do tell me that this person has not done any homework.
Some great answers:
"I have talked to several of the reporters in your news department and they tell me that this is a place where you really let reporters dig into stories that interest them".
"From what I have read about the company, you tend to promote from within and I think this would be a good place not only for this job, but for long-term career growth".
You get the picture. People who answer questions like that show that they have really thought about it and took the time to do some research. It may be true that you need a job and that's the primary motivation for being at the interview, but you can still make yourself stand out if you make the hiring managers feel that you really want to work specifically for them.
Geoff Roth is a 30-year veteran of the TV news business. He has hired hundreds of people and counseled both professionals and students as they hunt for jobs. Geoff is chronicling life after TV News at www.nomoredeadlines.com.
He was part of the original staff of CNN when it started up in 1980, and has worked for national and local news organizations across the country as everything from a writer to News Director. He is now rounding out his career as an Assistant Professor in the journalism department at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.