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Is Job Search “Trick or Treating” Hurting Your Chances?

Is Job Search “Trick or Treating” Hurting Your Chances?

Phil Rosenberg | President, ReCareered

How can I find which companies want someone like me?

Information Rules! Talk to your friends who work at target companies. They are your best resource to understand what type of person and what type of personality succeeds within a particular job environment. Every company has its own unwritten rules or culture. When employers look at culture, they look for someone who can easily communicate and fit in with 80% of the workforce who have a similar style.

So if everyone at a target company is 40+, been there 20 years, and wears pocket protectors, it might not be a such a good fit for a 26-year-old, tattooed and pierced woman. If it’s a jeans and t-shirt environment, this company might not be such a good fit for someone who’s experience has been working at a large, corporate hospital.

But what if you don’t know anyone at your target company? This is where Facebook can provide such a huge edge. Use your social network to gain introductions to employees at your target companies. But don’t waste the introduction to ask for a job or to pass a resume – there’s a much more valuable use.

Instead, do some espionage. Gain critical information about a company’s culture and style. Ask what type of person succeeds and what type of person fails within a target company and department. Ask what the hiring manager is like. Is she a team player or a maverick? Ask how he dresses. Casually or formally? Ask about the hiring manager’s communication style. Is it open door, or do you have to wait a week to get an appointment?

If you really want some great insight into a company’s style, use guerrilla tactics. Find a nearby bar, and head there at 5:00pm on a Friday. That’s right, use Happy Hour. Talk to a few people, including the bartender, you’ll find people who work for your target company. At a bar, information is so inexpensive… just a round or two of drinks. But think of the wealth of information you can pick up. Plus, you might even get a referral for your offer of drinks. You’ll see how they dress and act and probably pick up some great scoop.

Armed with all this information, could you figure out if your personality is a likely fit, or if your time is better spent somewhere else? There are so many uses for this information, such as insight as to a company’s challenges and opportunities. This way, you can show how you’ve already solved these problems and leveraged these same opportunities in your past company.

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