Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview with a great company. Now the real work begins as you spend time researching the company and practicing behavioral interview questions. I’m sure you’ve heard that companies may look at your social media accounts to learn more about who you are, but did you also think to look at their social media accounts?
You may be thinking; I’ve got to get a haircut, take my suit to the drycleaners and practice a lengthy list of interview questions…How in the world do I have time to research a potential employers’ social media accounts? Well, as someone who has interviewed for various positions throughout my career, I can attest to the fact that anything you can do to differentiate yourself from other candidates is worth the investment.
Sure, you can google the company you will be interviewing with, but social media provides you with a unique opportunity to get a real sense of what matters to the company. You might find out that the company CEO really loves to tweet about his employees. You could discover that the company doesn’t really post much on Facebook. All good insights to have as you move through the interview process.
Wondering how to get started? Here are a few simple tips for you to utilize social media before your next interview:
- Look for Common Ground. When you find out the names of the people you will be interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn. See if you have any connections in common. Check out how long they’ve been working at the company. Find out where they got their education. I’ve been in interviews where I knew ahead of time that the interviewer went to the same college I did. So, when we started the interview it was a natural ice breaker. Turns out the interviewer knew one of my favorite professors! Small world, right? We enjoyed sharing stories from our college days. My other suggestion would be to look at the things that the interviewer tweets about or posts on Facebook. Find out what their hobbies are. You just never know what you might have in common.
- Research the company. Look at their social media accounts. See what products and events they are currently promoting. Many LinkedIn Company pages list current job openings. They may also show pictures of employees volunteering at different events as well as share insights on their industry. I remember applying for a position and when I went to research the organization’s LinkedIn page, I wasn’t very impressed. It seemed odd to me that they didn’t post much on their page. In today’s business world, companies should be using social media as much as possible.
- Research the company’s competitors. This is one step that could really set you apart because not a lot of people think to do it. Let’s say your applying for a marketing job at Target Corporation. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to look at their competitors’ social media accounts (Wal-Mart, Amazon) to see what they are up to. By researching competitors’ social media accounts, you should get a sense of what is important to the industry.
If you’re interested in learning more about competitive analysis, NISM is offering an online course called Follow the Crowd: Find the People Who Want to Buy Your Product.
Have you taken a closer look at a company’s social media accounts before your interview? We’d love to hear your stories.
Author: Amy Berger
Amy Berger is a corporate communications writer based in Minnesota. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Gustavus Adophus College and a Master’s in Business Administration from the College of Saint Scholastica. She is currently interning at the National Institute for Social Media.