With over 50 years of collective technical recruiting experience, we’ve prepared thousands of candidates for interviews and we’ve seen the positive impact that interview preparation can have. Finding information on the company and possible interviewers has become easier with the rapid increase of LinkedIn participation by companies and their employees. Here are some tips on how you can effectively prepare for an interview by researching your interviewers using LinkedIn:
Look at the prospective interviewers’ profile and see if you have any mutual connections. If there are any, feel free to reach out to that person(s) and ask him or her to throw in a good word on your behalf. At the very least, he or she can share some information with you about the prospective interviewee.
Check out all the companies your prospective interviewers have worked with. Go through their entire history and not just their current job. See if there is a common place of employment you both shared at some point. On a few occasions, I have noticed that my clients and candidates have worked for the same firm, or competitive ones at some point, but fail to use that piece of information to help build rapport.
Keenly observe what they put as their particular skill sets. More often than not, it will probably be what you will discover about them at the interview.
Look to see where they went to school. You may share a common alma mater or be part of the same alumni association. Who knows, you may even share the same college major.
5. Reading Lists
LinkedIn’s reading list is a great way to see what is on the mind of your perspective employers. They may have similar interests to you. You may also be curious to know what they find interesting, so you can better connect with them.
Always look at the different groups they’ve joined. If you share a common group, there may be some connections you both know. Again, this is another way to gauge their interests. For example, they may be part of a few technology, sales, or marketing groups related to their career and also be part of a photography or speakers group as well.
This is an area that you need to pay close attention to since most people seldom review them in great detail. People usually request and receive recommendations from connections they know and trust. So if the recommendation states that a particular person you are reading about is “detail oriented”, “highly technical” or, “very strategic in their thinking”, it gives you a small window into the mind of that person. This may be just enough information to help you effectively prepare and gain an advantage over the competition. Besides, it should also take some of the edge off of what to expect at the interview.
Finally, it would be in your interest to see what postings or links your particular interviewers have shared. How active are they on LinkedIn? Are they answering or asking questions in the Q&A area? Chances are if they invest the time to share or post a link or answer or ask a question, they must have a passion or a particular interest in this subject matter. It may not be a bad idea to invest a little time perusing through this.
So make sure the next time you’re preparing for an interview that you take the time to research your possible interviewers. Not only does it display a sense of due diligence on your part, it may also be the ice breaker you were looking for that enables you to be invited back for another round, or hopefully… an offer.