In my last column, “Where you come from matters,” I talked about the importance of identifying employers’ preferred sources for submitting your résumé. How and where you apply to the company makes a difference; many employers deal with hundreds of applicants for a position, so they’re constantly trying to increase their chances of finding the top candidates.
The best place to research an employer’s hiring process is by talking to current or former employees at the company. Surprisingly, you can get access to this information on LinkedIn.
After you log in, click on the “Companies” tab on the menu bar at the top. This will take you to a search box. Type in the name of the desired company and select the one you’re looking for. On that page, you should see a “New Hires” tab in the center of the screen. Choose a few to contact and send each one a note congratulating them on their new job and asking how they applied with their new employer. Take note of their answers; if you notice a pattern, use that method to apply.
On the right-hand side of the company page, click on “Check out insightful statistics about [company] employees.” Toward the bottom of that page, you’ll see two tabs, “New Titles” and “Departures.” The latter displays former employees you can reach out to for additional information before submitting your application.
Current employees might be willing to provide a recommendation — many companies reward successful referrals — or suggest tips for getting noticed by the company. Former employees might share information that current workers aren’t comfortable disclosing, such as salary ranges, insider politics, recent reorganizations, the direction the company is taking, etc.
Whether you’re talking to former or current employees, ask about the interviewing process, including interview questions, things to focus on and what to avoid. For example, certain companies want to see a lot of dedication to personal achievement, while others prefer a commitment to customer service.
Gathering this information takes a little time and effort, but it can be invaluable when the time comes to send in your résumé — from the right source.
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