Photo: Alex Douzet
Researching potential employers before the interview can give you a sense of what the company wants in an employee as well as give you an edge to how to handle your interviewer. For example, if you discover that you went to the same college as your interviewer, you can break the ice by mentioning this at the beginning of your meeting. Or if you found a video of your interviewer giving a lecture, you can point out specific parts of the lecture that you thought was interesting.
This will also show the hiring manager that you’re enthusiastic about the job.
However, there’s a lot of information out there, so how do you decide what’s acceptable to mention and what’s too personal to bring up during an interview?
Alex Douzet, co-founder and COO of TheLadders, said that it’s really up to your discretion.
“I think everything that’s public out there is fair game for consumption and this includes blogs, tweets and speaking engagements.”
For example, Douzet told us that people he meets still mention a paper that he wrote nearly a decade ago.
The most important thing you need to remember is that your relationship with the interviewer is strictly business and you probably shouldn’t bring up anything that’s non work-related.
For example, if someone posts a picture of the interviewer on Instagram, it’s probably inappropriate to bring this up.
“You have to use your judgment to find the difference between [the interviewer’s] personal and public life,” Douzet said.
“If the information has nothing to do with the interview, then it’s probably too personal to bring up during anything business-related. I use my Facebook for personal purposes and I would not want someone to ask me about something that I posted on Facebook.”
Aside from research, you can also demonstrate your knowledge by focusing on the questions you ask at the end of the interview.
“You can never underestimate the power of the questions you ask,” Douzet said. “The questions you ask tells me just as much about you as the questions that I ask.”
But be sure to ask questions that are “aligned with the message that you want to come across.” If you want to show the interviewer that one of your strengths is data analysis, then ask them a question that involves this skill.
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