In light of the interviewing theme for this issue, I’ll share some easy ways to utilize LinkedIn for interviewing preparation. Once you have an interview lined up, use the website to research the company and the people who might be interviewing you.
When you are invited to an interview, it’s always good to ask if they can share with whom you’ll be meeting. Even if they can’t give out a name, this will give you an indication of whether it’s with one person or a panel (which can help you get mentally prepared for the appropriate setting). If they do give you a name or two, you should definitely try to find out more about the people before entering the room. LinkedIn can be a great way to do that.
Enter each name in the main search bar on the top left corner of the site to see if you can find the interviewer(s) on LinkedIn. Once you get to their profile pages, see if you have anything in common with the people and make notes for later. Try to work this information into the interview to build rapport (without sounding creepy). Sometimes it might make sense to just fess up and share that during your interview preparation, you looked them up on LinkedIn and saw that you both like to volunteer for local non-profits. They’ll likely be more flattered and impressed with your research than worried about you being an online stalker.
You can do the same thing to gather information about the company. On the main search bar, type in the company name. If they have a presence on LinkedIn, their company page should come up in the results. From their page, you can see company data, such as the number of employees (along with how many are on LinkedIn). Most importantly, LinkedIn will tell you if you know anyone who works there! It also directs you to their main website, provides other organizational details, and allows you to follow the company page (which means that their updates will be included on your home page stream).
So next time you have an interview, give LinkedIn a try for some research and preparation. Feel free to let me know how it goes.