Writing applications or preparing for interviews? What you need to know about the employer

A substantial amount of the job hunting process is geared towards the employer finding out about you – from CVs and personality tests to interview questions and assessment centres. All of these exercises are used by employers to discover what kind of person you are and how you will fit into the company or role. But, accepting a job offer is just as big a deal for you as it is for the employer. You need to know a lot about them before you decide to accept an offer, or even apply. This blog post aims to give you a starting point on where to find out the key information about employers.

Getting to know a company is about more than simply being able to impress in an interview; it’s also about finding out if they impress YOU enough to make you want to be part of their team.

Before you make an application you need to be aware of the company’s practices and values, as well as what you’re individual role will entail. This way you can be sure not only that, you are the right fit for the job, but that it’s the right fit for you. Employers will test you on your understanding of the role through various types of questions and tasks. Having an awareness of the competencies (e.g. proficiency in MS Office, excellent written and verbal skills) and logistics (e.g. hours and what tasks you’re required to complete in what timeframe) will increase your chance of ending up in a role that you’re happy with.

It is rare that the organisation you’re applying to is one of a kind, in terms of what they do. But, they would argue that they are, in terms of how they do what they do. You need to be aware of the USP of the organisation which you are applying to. This is something you’ll undoubtedly be asked about in an interview through questions such as, ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ Simply stating that you are interested in their embrace of digital media is unlikely to be enough when it’s easier to spot the brand that hasn’t gone digital. Think about how they differ from competitors who have done the same, what’s their edge?

How to find out the juicy stuff

USPs are usually quite easy to uncover, as a company will be keen to market themselves as one of a kind to customers and clients. Identifying them will also help you to gage where the employer fits in amongst its rivals and within the sector as a whole. Giving you that well sought after commercial awareness.

  • Company websites- These will probably be your first point of call. The amount of information you can glean from a company’s website varies, some may prove more useful than others. Remember information found here alone and regurgitated will not be enough to make you stand out over other candidates, who are likely to have read the same thing.
  • Social media- Twitter is your best bet for finding out organisations’ reactions to real time events and developments within the sector. You can also engage with potential employers online via LinkedIn and Facebook.

**Remember to act professionally when engaging with employers online. With only 140 characters at your disposal on Twitter, it can be tempting to slip into text speak. However, although many users (including employers) will abbreviate words; keeping your points concise will help ensure that your message doesn’t get lost in cyberspace translation.

  • Careers sites- Career guidance sites like ours are a great place to find out extra information about employers. These sites often feature expert Q&As or company specific posts. This way you can gain insider info on a wide range of professions.
  • Events and networking- Attending events and meeting people who work for the company you’re interested in is a great way to discover hidden gems of information. You also have the chance to ask personalised questions about specific roles or company activities. In your application or interview you can mention meeting a representative of the organisation and what effect it had on you.
  • News and business publications- Regularly reading journals, magazines and newspapers which feature news and information about the sector and employers will give you an understanding of the organisation and market.

The more research you do the better you’ll be able to convince employers that you’re the right person for the job. You will also increase your chances of being able to pose exciting and original questions when you meet representatives or are asked at interview, ‘do you have any questions for us?

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One thought on “Writing applications or preparing for interviews? What you need to know about the employer

  1. Pingback: UK Graduate Recruitment at 10 year high | QMUL Jobs Blog

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