You know what a good interview feels like… things feel comfortable, the conversation flows naturally and you’re both joking throughout the interview. On the contrary, awkward interviews are painful for both parties – you just want it to end. The more familiar you are with someone, the more comfortable you can be.
Researching a person using social media can give you insight into the interviewer’s life, and using this information wisely can help you make a strong impression. In addition, researching the background and history of the company can help you look smart and stand out.
Here are some tips on how to use Internet resources to help you have a winning interview:
Stalk Your Interviewer
Social media sites can help you identify interests you have in common with your interviewer and put some conversational topics in your back pocket. But remember to let the interviewer have a chance to talk. While you are trying to sell yourself to them, you don’t want all of the conversation to be about you. Depending upon where the interview is conducted, you may want to glance around for personal photographs and other office items. This may help you make a connection with the interviewer if you can find something in common with them. For example, if you see a baseball or a photo of a baseball game, you can say, “Ah, you’re a baseball fan – who’s your favorite team?”
When using social media to research an individual, avoid becoming too detailed or too personal. LinkedIn and Facebook can help you identify certain similarities, but you don’t want to be creepy. Mentioning that you noticed pictures of their family on a vacation in Hawaii is unnecessary. Try to keep the conversation focused on work, education, and career paths. Did the interviewer attend the same school as you? Do they have the same degree? Review the previous employers of the interviewer. If you are in the same field, chances are you both have interacted with or even worked for the same companies.
Research the Company
Always take the time to research the company before the interview. Learn about the history of the company and search for unique facts. For example, if you were to apply for a job with Google, it may be interesting to note that the company was initially funded using just a credit card. Background information can help you during the interview, as management appreciates people who are interested in the company’s history.
Each job interview is different. It helps to take the time to learn about the upper management of the organization. During some interviews, it is common for management individuals to stop by and speak with a candidate. Knowing the contributions they have made to the company can give you an advantage.
Follow the company’s social media site and check for the latest news and other information such as product announcements or new advertising campaigns. If the company has recently launched a new product, you can incorporate questions or comments about it into the interview.
Interviewing for a job can be a stressful process. If prepare yourself by researching both your interviewers and the company itself, you’ll be able to relax and be yourself during the interview.
Ryan Kohler is an HR Consultant & the CEO of ApplicantPro - applicant tracking software for the hiring process.