Richard McMunn gives some tips on how to use social media to do your research in advance of an interview.
Here are five tips that you can use to prepare yourself for your next job interview. For some reason there are companies across the globe that are willing to open themselves up for scrutiny by publishing personal and internal information and secrets on social media. All you need to do is follow the company bosses and staff online in order to harvest this information and use it for your own purposes.
1 – To research the company
Every job interview has similar questions and one of them is always: “What do you know about the company?” If you cannot give a full and well-informed reply, the potential employer is going to assume that you simply walked in off the street and applied, without any form of forethought. They will assume that you have very little commitment to your desire to work for them, and will assume that you are simply looking for a job — instead of looking to work for them specifically.
If you give a full and informed answer to the question, not only will you appear to want the job, you will also put yourself one step ahead of most of the other applicants.
2 – To glean insider information from employees and bosses
Another killer question is “What do you know about the job?” This is an unfair question, because primarily the only information you are going to have about the job is what is listed on their job listing. You can ask the staff a few innocent questions, or look through the backlog of their conversations online, in order to find out details about the job. If you give a few details about the job which are not listed on the job listing, it will appear that you are both aware of the job’s duties, and are prepared to commit to them.
If you have worked in a similar role before, use social media to find out about the job — including any job specifics. You should tell the interviewer if you did those tasks in your previous job. In this way you will look as if you need very little training, which will make you an instant asset if you are hired.
3 – Connect with people who have already interviewed for similar jobs
This is going to take a lot of probing around on blogs, comment sections and forums, but there are always people who have tried and failed to get the job you are trying to get — especially if the job is with a large company.
4 – Make your social media profile and your cv mirror
The interviewer is going to read your cv and social media profile, so make sure they are almost identical. You must then make sure that you memorise your social media profile so that you do not contradict yourself in the interview. This is especially true if you put a few positive, white lies on your social media profile that you did not put on your cv.
5 – Use social media to find out small details such as dress code
This is very important. A lip ring, eyebrow ring, visible tattoos, white socks, bracelets, etc, can all be interview killers. Use social media to find out small details such as dress code, staff attitudes, company ethics and religious beliefs. Use this information to prepare yourself for the interview.
*Richard McMunn is the director and founder of how2become, the UK’s leading career specialist. Before this he spent 17 years in the Fire Service and served as a Fire Officer where he oversaw the recruitment of new firefighters. He undertook hundreds of interviews during this time and has produced a number of books to help people pass all stages of the recruitment process.