This post is part 1 of a two-part series about doing your research before an interview. Be sure to revisit this blog in the near future to read part 2 about other ways to research a company.
When you’re job hunting, researching a company’s social media content offers valuable information about the company’s job positions, values, accomplishments and goals. Studying these sites prior to a job interview helps you be better prepared for the interview and demonstrates to the hiring manager that you’re diligent.
Information you collect from social media also gives you good answers to interview questions. By doing your research, you are better able to answer standard questions such as “What do you know about us?” or “Do you have any questions for me?”
Four social media sites – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn – are especially useful for job hunters. Below are some ways to use these sites for interview research.
Facebook and Twitter
Look at the company’s Facebook posts and Twitter tweets to gain insight into what the company considers important. What events, services and products are promoted? What do they celebrate – do they commemorate national holidays, historical events and company achievements? Do they advertise links to blog posts, white papers and videos that serve as informational resources for customers? How do they handle customer inquiries and complaints – do they respond immediately or wait for several days?
Facebook and Twitter offer a good look at how an organization wants to be perceived by current and future customers, the business world and potential hires. When you’re familiar with company news and events, you gain an advantage over less-prepared candidates.
Many organizations take advantage of YouTube’s powerful visual storytelling to share stories of customer and company achievements using their products and services. Other videos show the company’s impact on society and the environment, or offer how-to advice explaining to customers how their products solve personal or business problems. Harvest all of this information and use it to create insightful questions for your interview.
LinkedIn creates multiple opportunities to understand a potential employer. If there is a LinkedIn company page or SlideShare presentations, use them to understand the company’s history, size, products and services, customers, current news and thought leadership.
LinkedIn’s network of connections helps you to understand the human resources staff, hiring managers and senior executives you meet during your first, second or third interviews. Read the profiles of those people to understand their achievements and research their Linked blog posts to understand how they think. Information from these sources is a handy conversation starter at interviews.
LinkedIn even offers access to company employees. Use LinkedIn’s search feature to find people with the company name in their profiles and ask your first-level connections for a personal introduction to a current employee. If that person responds to the introduction, tell them of your interest in working there and request a phone call to ask about the company’s internal environment. By speaking with employees and hearing how they regard the organization, it’s easier to determine if the company is a good fit for you.
Social Media Research Makes a Lasting Impression on Employers
Researching an employer’s social media sites and showing your in-depth knowledge during your initial interview is impressive to company representatives. With luck and a well-crafted, up-to-date resume, your preparation may lead to more interviews and increase the potential for a job offer.
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