How to avoid being ignorant during a job interview

AMONG THE COMMON MISTAKES MADE BY JOB CANDIDATES  is not doing their homework before interviewing. That’s what really tees hiring managers off.

Your ignorances about the job you’re applying for, the company you’re applying to, and about your own skills shows potential bosses that you’re an unprepared candidate who is wasting their time. When you don’t know these things, you’re considered an ignoramus. You can avoid having that harmful label slapped on you by gathering information in three areas before interviewing:

Know what the company is about

The first step in selling anything is gathering information about your product and the customer to whom you intend to sell it to. When it comes to a job finding campaign, you are the product to be marketed and sold. Your prospective job prospects are your customers.

In today’s age of the Internet, there are no excuses for your not knowing about a company. Most corporate Websites contain oodles of information you can use at the interview.

For example, many sites have several pages of information you can open. Click on COMPANY to get an overview of the organization and learn about its history brands, names of officers, and board members. Click on NEWS to learn about corporate dividends and quarterly earnings. Click on CAREERS to learn about career opportunities and job postings.

Your interviewers will be wowed when you use this information. Why? Because you are demonstrating your knowledge about and interest in the company and job in question.

Know what the job you’re applying for is about

Always ask for a job description from the person with whom you’re setting up an interview. That person could be a corporate or agency recruiter or a representative from the company that has invited you to interview with them.

Either way, when you get the job specifications, practice matching your skills and achievements on your resume to what the job calls for.

Know what your skills are about

This area has always been a sticking point for me as a career coach. You’d be surprised how many job candidates draw a blank when I ask, “what are your three major strengths?” When prodded, those not knowing job candidates reply with those universal and  lame clichés such as, “I’m a team player,” or, “I’m a hard worker.” Yeah, right!

So I demonstrate how to answer the skills question by listing what I consider my three main skills of coaching, designing and delivering seminars, and verbal and written communications—depending on the job I wsould be interviewing for. Then I coach clients how to uncover and list their major strengths, how to rehearse them, and how to practice verbalizing them with enthusiasm when asked, “What are your strengths, Liz?”

You won’t be an ignoramus during job interviews when you know all about the company you’re interviewing for, the job specifications for the position in question, and are prepared to rattle off your three major skills.

RANDY PLACE is the author of “Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach: How to Find a Job and Manage Your Career While Coping With The Hassles of It all.” To discover how this book can help your job-finding campaign with 60-second coaching vignettes, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to order Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach from

Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.