Saturday, January 3, 2009

Corporate Questionnaires: The New Gateway to Creating Job Security

For many years, a resume was the gateway to an initial job interview. Job seekers often sought the advice of books or writing specialists to help them craft the perfect resume, and in turn, human resources directors reviewed those resumes and sent the best entries to the manager seeking to fill the position.

Times have changed, and job seekers are adapting to a whole new set of rules. Today, corporate questionnaires are the new gateway to creating job security.

Job seekers still send in a resume. Only instead of being granted a nearly automatic job interview, top candidates are sent questionnaires that can take between two and four hours to complete. Companies use these sophisticated and robust questionnaires to find out a significant amount of information about job seekers -- in many cases before they even schedule an initial interview. It’s how they weed out candidates who are unqualified or unwilling to invest the time in researching their company.

The questions vary, but common sample questions you can expect to see on a corporate questionnaire may include:

1. Please visit our Web site and describe your understanding of our products.
2. Share with us your trends forecast for the industry.
3. How do you see this organization benefiting from corporate social responsibility [CSR] initiatives? By what creative means would you inform our customers/clients about our social responsibility initiatives?
4. What industry publications do you read on a regular basis?
5. Do you live within a 50-mile radius of our offices?

You would probably agree that this is a pretty intense list of questions, especially if you haven’t yet been granted an initial interview, but this list isn’t even a complete list. And this is only round one.

The days of sending 30 cookie-cutter resumes out to 30 companies is over. Job seekers need to be prepared to treat each application seriously. It’s better to be slightly overwhelmed now while you have the chance to catch your breath and prepare your thinking than it is to be overwhelmed when this application hits your inbox and you’re on deadline to return it.

Remember, your answers should not be about you. They should be about what you can offer to this company, and how you fit into their culture. It’s important to research the organizations where you apply so that your answers reflect your understanding of their needs in filling an open position.

The good news if you are living in a medium-sized town or a rural area is that these questionnaires are still largely reserved for larger companies in metropolitan centers. But they are becoming a trend of the future so it’s in your interest to become familiar with them. They also provide great insight for ways you can prepare for a phone or in-person interview regardless of where you are applying.

The Creating Job Security Resource Guide, now available at independent books stores and at for $8.95, includes a comprehensive list of common questions from corporate questionnaires, as well as online resources containing additional sample corporate questionnaires. Join the Creating Job Security fan club on Facebook today. Membership is free and the first 25 people to join the Creating Job Security Facebook fan club receive a free autographed copy of the Creating Job Security Resource Guide in February.


Jane R said...

I like your blog so I ordered your book Wednesday. Mail is panefully slow to Kauai so maybe it will get here next week. When I read this article Wednesday it made me mad that companys are making it so hard for people to get jobs. I'm glad I don't have to do this for my work. It is better to know that this happens in case restaurants start making people answer these questions. I don't think they should. I will know what to expect if they start to though. I would hate to get this big Q&A form to fill out to get a job, but I would do it. Our family works together to make it in this economy. Tourism is down in Hawaii and I bring food home. When you need a job and you need to eat sometimes you will do whatever has to be done.

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