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Do Your Homework on Prospective Employers

Specifically, 47 percent said candidates showed little or now knowledge of their firm. The next most-common response, being unprepared to discuss skills and experience, was cited by 17 percent of the executives. Being unprepared to discuss career plans and goals and showing limited enthusiasm were each cited by 9 percent.

The survey of 150 senior executives in finance, marketing and human resources departments was developed by the financial staffing agency Accountemps and conducted by an independent researcher.

In an age where company information is commonly available online, it could be embarrassing to stumble through discussion of an investment bank's corporate organization or approach to different market sectors. Such information is usually prominent on a bank's Web site. Reading through recent press releases and media coverage on sites like The Wall Street Journal Online, MarketWatch or the New York Times's Dealbook can make sure you're up-to-date on recent developments. Many banks and financial firms also have a career section on their sites, which provide clues to their approach to hiring.

Offline, your own colleagues can provide insights about prospective employers. As Accountemps points out, some people in your network may have worked for, or with, the firm you're considering, and may be able to provide background that will be useful during your interviews.

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