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Saturday, January 20, 2018

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Do your homework after the interview too
Harvey Mackay

February, 2009

After a job interview, do you know what happens in the office of the recruiter, personnel manager or boss you just visited? They close the door and take out an evaluation form or a recording device and pass judgment on your future. In other words, they do their homework.

I'm astonished at how few job candidates take their own futures seriously enough to record or organize their notes on interviews that potentially have such an impact on their lives.

If you're going to put your future and your fate in anyone's hands, it should be your own. You have your own evaluation to make, impressions about your performance and about the company.

Those of you who have read my first two books—Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive and Beware The Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt—probably know what's coming next. First there was the Mackay 66 Customer Profile. Then came the Mackay 33 for Employees and Managers. What else but the Mackay 22 Job Finder, which you fill out after all job interviews? All these forms are available free on my website, (Can you tell I like lists?)

Because I believe so strongly in my mantra—"Prepare to win"—I've also prepared a questionnaire I call the Mackay Sweet 16, which you can also find on my website. This will help you get ready before you ever go to your first interview

Was I smart enough to use the Mackay 22 when I got my first job? No. I did, however, strongly suggest that my three children use the Mackay 22 when they launched their job hunts. They were each ultimately successful.

As for the Mackay 22 form, obviously you don't flip it out during your interview. Don't refer to it either. The job interview is a corporate ritual, and your role in this mating dance is not to take control, but to react intelligently and creatively to the signals you get from your interviewer. Getting the job is always going to be your number-one priority, but getting the answers to the questions about the job is right up there as a close second.

Simple discipline. Basic questions. But for my money, simple and basic are the only way to go. This is so important; I'd fill it out even before I wrote the thank you note to the interviewer!

Here's a sampling of the information you should gather:

  1. Date of Interview: Name of firm: Phone number: Address: Interviewer: Title:
  2. Describe position being filled:
  3. Last person left job because:
  4. Position reports to: Title: Who reports to this position?
  5. Key duties of job:
  6. If last person in job succeeded, why? If last person in job failed, why?
  7. Chances to get ahead? Describe: Can you move laterally within the company to other departments requiring other skills? Describe: Does the company encourage educational and training programs? Describe:
  8. Would relocation be necessary now? In the future? Probable?
  9. Describe the "ideal" candidate:
  10. Important information about pay, benefits, etc.:
  11. When can you expect a decision? Was the interviewer specific? Vague?
  12. Five most important questions you were asked?
  13. Three most difficult or embarrassing questions?
  14. What three things did the interviewer seem to like most about you or your background?
  15. What reservations or concerns did the interviewer reveal? What did you say or do during the interview that you wished you hadn't?
  16. New company information you learned that you might be able to use later?
  17. How would this job/company be a good fit? How would it be a poor fit?
  18. Did you mention any references? Which ones? Have you alerted these people?
  19. How did the interviewer describe your potential boss?
  20. Is this the kind of person you would trust? Feel comfortable working with?
  21. Any special conditions under which you might be offered the job? Did you mention any conditions for you to accept it?
  22. What would be the biggest attraction to you in taking this job? The biggest drawback?

Complete the form as soon as possible after your interview, while the information is still fresh in your mind. Research tells us that we forget 50 percent of what we've heard within four hours. Then use it as a reference tool as you move along toward getting the job you've always wanted.

Mackay's Moral: The info you gather from your first interview is invaluable for your second interview.  Learn more at


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