This post should be simply “It is mandatory that your young job seeker—and anyone else reading this post for that matter–prepare some snappy questions to take with you to your interview” and that would be the end of it.
But I believe I’ll go the distance and explain a few of the ‘why’s’ in support of this statement.
First your new grad needs to show up at their interview(s) with a portfolio of interview questions pre-prepared (is there such a term/word/phrase?!) simply because recruiters at all levels, business owners and hiring managers, demand it. OK, ‘demand’ might be a bit harsh of a term but, no, it’s really not. Over the years I have asked recruiters what drives them the most crazy about interviewing new candidates and the FIRST response is always a lack of written questions prepared for their specific session.
Why would this be such a big deal? I mean what’s wrong with a job seeker showing up, sitting down and asking, “Hey, what do you guys do around here?” I can answer that question categorically with EVERYTHING! Lack of interest comes to mind as well as lack of courtesy and a dire lack of initiative that just screams “Don’t hire me.”
So to get to the real point of this post: Make absolutely, positively certain that your job seeker does their homework and preps some questions specific to the position they are seeking. And I gotta tell you it’s really easy to do the basic prep. All your job seeker has to do is Google “job interview questions _______ (fill in the title of the position sought).” Every job interview question ever asked is online. Let Google cover the basics quick and easy. But, this is only the OVERVIEW that Google has accomplished for your candidate. Overview meaning the generic questions necessary to get the ball rolling in the meet-and-greet. The next part comes with some not difficult research but it will take a little bit of time. Tell your new grad to research the corporate website and:
- Read or scan every page–even the job postings. You can learn a lot about a company by looking at their career pages. It gives you an idea of growth and how active they are in their field.
- Check out the About Us page and seek out the names of the ‘powers that be.’ Always good to know.
- Review press releases for the last year or so. A lot can be gleaned from those as well.
- If the organization is publicly held review the SEC 10K and Quarterly 10Q reports. These documents are the ‘report with all the warts’ as required and reported to the Securities Exchange Commission. Boring as mud but GREAT information can be found here for an interview–even if your new grad is seeking an entry-level IT position.
Of course your grad will want to visit LinkedIn to review everyone s/he is meeting with come interview time. There’s always great information there and some may be worthy of noting for the interview.
Show your brilliance
It is still astonishing to me how often job seekers do not show up with any prepared documentation. Do not let this be your new grad. All that schooling. All that work. ALL THAT DEBT! This really is a simple ace-in-the-hole kind of effort that will show their brilliance, initiative and set them apart from the competition. All those recruiters haven’t been telling me the same thing, over and over for years now, if it weren’t true.
Upon arrival at their interview your job seeker will be opening up that new leather portfolio they received for graduation and the first thing they want the interviewer to see–and the first thing the interviewer wants to see–is a long, random page (or 2 or 3) of relevant questions.
All righty, then. That’s all the explaining I’m going to do in this post.
Good Luck to your new grads. I wish them, and you, well!