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Strategies for Success

Investigate the Company

I can't imagine going to an interview without knowing about the company. Don't be surprised if the interviewer's first question is: "What do you know about us?" Walking in with little prior knowledge about your target company is foolhardy. Fortunately, there are some very good methods for obtaining information.

No matter what company you're courting—and this includes CocaCola and IBM—you have to do your homework. Don't assume that a company with a marquee name holds no surprises. Check it out thoroughly. The same applies to small, privately held companies. Investigate every company.

Start by checking every possible public source of information. The public library and the Internet are the best places to start. There, you can read current and past annual reports, as well as the company's detailed 10-K report, which every publicly owned corporation must file with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). If an annual report or 10-K isn't available at the library, you can obtain them from your stockbroker or request them from the company. These reports are public information. While few people read them cover to cover, they contain significant data that you should know. At the very least, you should get a handle on how well the stock has traded over the previous 12-month period. If the subject comes up during your interview, you'll seem disinterested if you're in the dark.

Also, read as many magazine and newspaper articles as you can find on the company. Here youll get pertinent facts about the industry, as we as financial analysts' views of the company's future. You'll pick up tidbits about high-ranking executives who may be profiled.

Researching a privately owned company is obviously more difficult because it is not required to provide Public information. Nonetheless, sources such as Dun & Bradstreet or the local Chamber of Commerce may help you.

Be sure to investigate the company's major competitors. Knowing about the competition can be just as valuable as knowing about the company. Knowledge in this area is sure to impress the interviewer. Better yet, find out what the competition has to say about the company.

(Taken from the book Headhunters Confidential by Alan R. Schonberg)

Know How You Can Benefit the Company

A what's-in-it-for-me attitude is a sure way to repel the hiring authority. You should walk in filled with ideas about what you can do for the company.

All too often, candidates focus on their own needs. Their questions are self-centered. "I'd like to do my work at home. Do you have flex time? Would it hold me back if I'm not seen at the office? How fast can I expect my first promotion?"

Such subjects may be important to you, but they're poison during the early stages of an interview. You'll eventually find out what you want to know. just don't push it. This is the time for you to convince the hiring authority that you have something of value to the company.

At MRI we tell job candidates to think FAB-Features, Accomplishments, and Benefits. Basically, this means identifying a problem the company has and providing a solution based on your past success with a similar problem. Then, you summarize how it will benefit your future employer. You build a case on your value as an asset.

A newly hired person is always assessed through his or her potential contribution. You provide a service, and as such, are a commodity. The hiring authority must decide what potential is worth-in other words, your salary. Thinking of yourself as a commodity may seem impersonal, but it is a reasonable approach to seeking employment. Let's face it, business is business. What you're paid to do on the job must be justified on the other side of the ledger.

(Taken from the book Headhunters Confidential by Alan R. Schonberg)

Ten Reasons Not To Accept
The Counter Offer

  1. What type of company do you work for if you have to threaten to resign before they give you what you are worth?

  2. From where is the money for the counter offer coming? Is it your next raise, early? (All companies have strict wage and salary guidelines which must be followed.)

  3. Your company will immediately start looking for a new person at a lower salary price.

  4. You have now made your employer aware that you are unhappy. From this day on, your loyalty will always be in question.

  5. When promotion time comes around, your employer will remember who was loyal, and who wasn't.

  6. When times get tough, your employer will begin the cutback with you.

  7. The same circumstances that now cause you to consider a change will repeat themselves in the future, even if you accept a counteroffer.

  8. Statistics show that if you accept a counteroffer, the probability of voluntarily leaving in six months or being let go within one year is extremely high.

  9. Accepting a counteroffer is an insult to your intelligence and a blow to your personal pride, knowing that you were bought.

  10. Once the word gets out, the relationship that you now enjoy with your co-workers will never be the same. You will lose the personal satisfaction of peer group acceptance.

    (From the Wall Street Journal)
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