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How to Research the Interviewer before an Interview

by THEA kelley | August 6, 2020

Along with researching the company before an interview, should you research the interviewer? Certainly. Here’s how to do it effectively–and without being creepy.

LinkedIn is a great place to start.

Insights You Can Gain from LinkedIn:

  • The interviewer’s interests, values and perspectives, as implied by their education and professional experience.
  • Interests and/or background you have in common with them.
  • What they look like (if they’ve posted a photo), which can make it easier to mentally practice having a successful interview with them.
  • The URL of their blog or website, if any (under “Contact info”).
  • Their activities (if any) on LinkedIn, such as posts you could “Like” or comment on.

If you interact with the interviewer on LinkedIn, be conscious that a big flurry of Likes and comments could seem like, well, kissing up! Interact sparingly (unless they respond with great interest) and sincerely.

Beyond LinkedIn–Other Sources:

It’s totally okay to follow the interviewer on Twitter. Googling them is a good idea (but see “how not to be creepy,” below). And check Glassdoor, where you may find comments from other job seekers who have been interviewed by them.

If you feel at all hesitant to seek this kind of public information, keep in mind that many employers (70%, according to one study) will do similar research on you.

Don’t forget word-of-mouth research. This can be as simple as asking the recruiter about the hiring manager’s interviewing style and day-to-day priorities, but you don’t have to stop there. If you have contacts in common with the interviewer, or if you can arrange to speak with someone who works at the company, you might ask them a few respectful, professional questions such as “What’s it like working with Emily?” or “What kind of team members work best with Vijay?” Don’t make a person the sole topic of conversation, which would be gossipy. Be friendly. Discuss the company, how they like working there, their own career path and interests, and/or industry trends.

How Not to Be Creepy while Researching the Interviewer

  • You may want to stay away from personal life-oriented platforms like Facebook, or at least don’t mention it.
  • Don’t mention any fact you discovered unless it is professional and positive, something they’ll be happy to have you know about, and easily accessible so they don’t feel like the subject of an investigation.
  • If you mention something you found out, do it in a natural way, preferably when it relates to the topic of conversation.
  • Don’t invite them to connect on LinkedIn until after the interview.
  • Proceed with a kind spirit. A suspicious mindset while researching won’t prepare you to get in rapport at the interview. Look for reasons to admire and like your interviewer.

Being well informed is usually a good thing, right? Researching the interviewer before a job interview is no exception.

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