Do Your Pre-Interview Research

Posted by The Editors on August 18, 2011
Do Your Pre-Interview Research

Your recruiter wants to be stalked. Well, okay, maybe not stalked like you would Facebook stalk a love interest you met last Saturday night. But they do want you to research them.

While conducting my interview with General Mills recruiter Lisa Bormann for the company’s Employer Profile, she pointed out that recruiters want interview candidates to do their research and come to the interview with some background information on them.

We purposely have some of our recruiters make public LinkedIn profiles, so candidates can do research and know the background of their interviewer,” Bormann said. “We like people who do their due diligence.”

This means if you’re provided the name of your interviewer, you shouldn’t feel bad about plugging it into search engines and gathering intel on who you’ll be meeting with. You can learn about their professional background and experiences or interests you might share: Maybe your interviewer also had a background in journalism before switching to public relations.

If you do come across some useful information, you’ll need to be careful about alluding to the fact that you’ve been Googling them:don’t come out and say, “I saw that you have a background in journalism and worked at The Times! I interned there!” That can be creepy.

Instead, you should cleverly skirt around the shared connection. For instance, rather than say, “I interned in an online editorial department,” mention the name of the newspaper where you both have worked. “Last summer, I did some editorial work at The Times.” Your interviewer is bound to smile and share that she worked there for three years after college. And just like that, you’ve established a more personal connection.

If your interviewer doesn’t pick up on the cue, then you need to move on. For whatever reason, she doesn’t want to talk about the connection you’ve made.

Good luck with your interview, and happy stalking—er, researching!

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