One of my favorite questions when I interview job applicants is, “How did you find out about our company?” This innocent question sounds simple enought 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 has 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 foundout about our job opening, he mentioned that he saw it on the internet, went to our website and filled up an online application form.
This surprised me 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 told him this, 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 our company’s name was mentioned by my staff and written on the printed applicaiton form that you filled up just minutes ago, and that I am interviewing you for a freelance resource speaker position, right?”
To this, he embarassedly explained, “Oh, I’m 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-shift, 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 part of the interview process – to weed out people who do not have the basic competence for a job and will be inappropriate for it. You know, those applicants who do not read job ads carefully, those who do not take time to do research on the company for which they have a job interview, and those who fail to see the big and highly visible sinage 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 thousandsof 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 experiencw? Is it full-time work, part-time, or freelance? where is the company located? How far is it from your place and will you be able to handle the commute?
Tailor your cover letter and resume to the company you’re applying for
Once you have zeroed in on a few companies that are appropriate for you, be sure to tailor your letter or email message for them, and adjust your resume to highlight your accomplishments and experience sought by the company you are applying for:
Do research on the company before your interview
If you get called for an interview, Google the company and browse through their website the night before the interview. This will allow you to ask intelliegent questions and show the recruitment officer that you take your carreer seriously.
When you get to their office, observe the area where you are asked to wait. 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:
How do you start your job hunt journal?
It doesn’t really matter what you use as long as it works for you, whether a simple notebook, your daily planner; or a computer program. Just make sure to record important details such as:
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 help you avoid stupid mistakes. Most important of all, you will learn how to be organized and efficient – two important qualities that many business and HR people and I look for in employees. –Jhoanna O. Gan-So, Manila Bulletin