March 31, 2014
Whether you’re a new graduate or a veteran looking for a career change, the moment that makes or breaks a job seeker’s chance of being hired is the interview. The keys to making a good impression are framing your previous accomplishments and how they’ve prepared you for the position and demonstrating your cultural fit with the company. For each of these your professional history and accomplishments will answer most of the questions. And when it comes to your ability showcase expertise, a familiarity with industry trends, issues and news can leave a great impression.
Imagine you enter an interview for a job related to social media. You discuss your previous successes, plans for the position and so forth. Then when the interviewer mentions Facebook’s new advertising rules, you look like a deer in headlights.
If you only know about your own work history, you’ll look uninformed. Of course, not knowing a particular piece of industry news might not ruin your chances of being hired. But imagine a hiring decision comes down to you and one other person. They know all the social media industry news while you aren’t aware of a key piece of news related to the biggest social media company. Who do you think gets the job?
The good news: it’s easy to stay up on industry news. Once you know what’s happening in your field, you can incorporate it into your interview. Here are three ways to stay up on relevant news plus a few tips on how to demonstrate that knowledge in a job interview.
Scoop.it combines the power of web search algorithms with human tastes and interests. It works like this: you set up a suggestion feed with keywords of interest. For interview research you’ll use the keywords related to your industry. Then you can “scoop” relevant articles onto your page. Scoop.it is a powerful tool for content curating; it’s also great for checking the latest news and web content on a given subject. It indexes content from many websites, not just the sites you know. Once you have a suggestion feed set up, you can scroll through the articles and scoop or trash each item. Once scooped, you can read all of your selected articles.
Flipboard is an equally powerful tool tailored specifically for your mobile device. It collects content from various social channels and media outlets and displays it for you in a magazine-style format. Flipboard is useful in conducting industry research because you can do it from anywhere. On a mobile device it provides a quick and easy way to “flip” though content and determine what is of use and what isn’t; think Pinterest or Instagram for news. Flipboard’s magazine feature also gives you a way to save articles to read later. To set up your first magazine, just click the ‘+’ in the bottom right quadrant of each article’s excerpt and add the article.
Topsy is different than Scoop.it and Flipboard because it gives you the ability to research trending topics on Twitter and other social channels. If you want to see the growth of interest in topics, hashtags, etc., Topsy provides it. A search by keyword allows you to see trending topics as they relate to your keywords. The index Topsy provides is truly comprehensive, going all the way back to the launch of Twitter in 2006.
Now here are a few tips for incorporating industry news into your job interview:
1. Small Talk
Your ability to engage in effective small talk during your job interview can have a huge impact on your interviewer’s opinion of you as a cultural fit for the company. The most common small talk topics, such as travel, movies and music, are great ways to break the ice with your interviewer. But you don’t want to spend your job interview discussing the latest Pixar flick. When you’re engaged in small talk, it’s a good idea to subtly drop a few bites of industry news and jumpstart a conversation related to the job.
2. Work History
Discuss how developments in the industry have impacted your work history and how you adapted to meet those changes. This gives you the chance to highlight additional certifications and training you’ve acquired, conferences you’ve attended and so forth. Use the opportunity to show yourself to be an agile employee who is always looking for ways to grow professionally and prepare yourself for the challenges facing your industry.
During the interview you’ll have an opportunity to outline a plan for once you are hired. This is the perfect time to outline how new developments in the industry impact the way you would do your job. Show how the strategy you bring to the job incorporates the changes facing the industry as a whole. This will demonstrate that you not only understand the industry and its trends but also how those trends impact this position.
The interview is your best opportunity to show an employer that you are the right person for the job. If you can’t speak intelligently about the industry, you’ll appear unqualified. To demonstrate your knowledge of the job and the industry, stay up on the news and be ready to talk about it during your next interview.