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The national survey includes responses from 150 senior executives - including those from human resources, finance and marketing departments - with the nation's 1,000 largest companies. It was conducted by an independent research firm and developed by Accountemps, a U.S.-based staffing service.
Executives were asked, "What do you think is the most common mistake candidates make during job interviews?" Their responses:
Little or no knowledge of the company 47% Unprepared to discuss skills and experience 17% Unprepared to discuss career plans and goals 9% Limited enthusiasm 9% Lack of eye contact 3% Monopolize interview 2% Focus on salary/benefits/perks 2% Lack of self-confidence 2% Inappropriate dress 2% Late arrival 2% Don't know/no answer 5% 100%
"Candidates should learn as much as they can about a company before meeting a prospective employer," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Managing Your Career For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons Inc.). "The most successful applicants will have a beyond-the-basics understanding of the firm, including its history, chief competitors and business objectives. Armed with this knowledge, job hopefuls should be able to describe how their skills and experience can help the business reach its goals."
Accountemps offers the following tips for researching potential employers:
Find information at your fingertips. By visiting the company's Web site, you can locate a wealth of information, such as the firm's mission and values, what products and services it provides, recent press releases and more. If it's a publicly traded company, call the investor relations department to request an annual report.
Research the industry. In addition to learning about the company, research the industry in which it competes to gain a better understanding of the market and specific issues and trends that may affect the organization.
Check your network. Ask your colleagues, friends and others for information about your prospective employer. Your contacts may have worked for or with the organization and could provide insight that may prove valuable during a job interview.