Be prepared: How well do you know your prospective employer?

400–600 words 

Imagine that you find the job of your dreams, you apply, and you get a call for an interview. Are you ready? How familiar are you with the interview process? How familiar are you with the company? In today’s competitive job market, it is vital that you are fully prepared for your employment interviews. One of the best ways to do that is to do research on your prospective employer in advance of the interview. Remember, the interview process gives you an opportunity to evaluate your prospective employer as much as it gives him or her an opportunity to evaluate you.

To answer the questions below, use a job board such as this Web site or niche job boards like this Web site or this Web site to first review 3–5 advertised job descriptions for a position that you could realistically get after you graduate with your current level of experience, skills, and education.

-BA in Information Technology

These jobs do not have to be in your geographic area, but make sure the descriptions are detailed enough to understand the requirements (e.g., provide the job duties and qualifications) and that they match your current level of experience.

Note: Most often, few people will have everything an employer advertises, so aim to have about 60–70% of the stated qualifications. If you find that you have less than that and you are not qualified for the jobs that you identified, then go back again and search for new jobs for which you do meet a majority of the qualifications.

Have these job descriptions in front of you as you answer the questions below.

Primary Task Response

Make a list of things that are important to you about a prospective employer. For instance, would you prefer to work for a company that has a history of being on the cutting edge of technological advancements? Would you prefer to work for a company that has a history of making significant investments in its infrastructure? Simply, what are the things about a prospective employer that would indicate a good fit for you? Select 1 of the positions that you reviewed, and research the company for some general background information about it, including when it was established, its mission statement, and so forth. You should look for anything that defines the company to the public, to its stakeholders, and to its employees. It is essential to know the company (especially its mission, values, and culture) to determine whether or not it is a place where you might actually want to work. At the end of an interview, you will often be asked if you have any questions for the person interviewing you. Based upon what is important to you in a prospective employer and based upon your company research, write down a list of 3–5 specific questions that you might want to ask that person. Keep in mind that you may want to ask less overt questions, and instead, ask questions that get at what you want to learn without asking it directly. For example, instead of asking “Does your company have a history of making significant investments in its infrastructure?” you could ask “What investments has your company made in recent years to ensure its operational efficiency?” 

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