Knowing Your Business

  • Posted by: Chaloner

This week’s blog post is written by Chaloner’s Georgia Aarons. Georgia joined the NY Chaloner office earlier this year. She started her career recruiting for investment banks and Fortune 500 companies before working in London for a PR agency. A graduate of Columbia and Cambridge, Georgia also has a passion for writing and strategic communications. Her recent publications include “Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications” as well as the editing of the most widely used corporate communications textbook in American Business Schools, “Corporate Communication.”

As a recruiter, I spend my days asking people questions about their career histories and job searches, and I’m amazed that when I turn the tables and ask candidates what questions they have for me, they often hesitate. Curiosity and knowledge about one’s industry, function, and company are hallmarks of a professional who is committed to his/her space. And interest in trends in the world of communications should be a given for anyone working in the field. This week, I wanted to talk about the importance of being knowledgeable about your industry and staying on top of the trends in communications, and offer some tips on where to find them.

Gain a macro view
It’s not only important to be prepared with detailed questions about whatever role you are considering, but also to do your research on broader trends in the company’s industry. If you’re interviewing with a healthcare company, know their position in the industry, what their messaging is, where they stand on key regulatory issues and current events. Know why they’re an interesting player in their space. Be prepared to explain why you’ve chosen your industry.

How much should I know about the particular company?
Be well-versed in their basic stats: their size, number of employees, market cap, company financials, and history. Depending on where you’re interviewing, this information may be easy to find, or somewhat withheld. It’s completely appropriate to ask about the history of the team with which you’re interviewing and know whether they are in the process of restructuring and re-organizing.

Resources that make you sound smarter
Where can you find all this information? There are a number of publications and online portals you should look at in order to sound—and be!—smarter regarding your industry. The Arthur W. Page Society, for example, is a wonderful resource for communications professionals. Edelman and McKinsey’s websites also have terrific blogs, white papers, and articles with helpful information. Edelman’s annual “Trust Barometer”, in particular, is notable in the industry for focusing on stakeholders and their evolving attitudes and perceptions of different industries. Consider a subscription to publications about communications at large, such as PRWeek. And of course, you should always look at the company’s website and see their annual reports and investor relations portal.

Market knowledge, in general, is a powerful weapon when you’re interviewing and can position you above and beyond other talented candidates. The bottom line is that if you’re passionate about communications, you should be interested enough to stay on top of trends and activity. I encourage all candidates to verse themselves in industry knowledge for the interview process and beyond!