Congratulations! You finally landed an interview at your dream company and it looks like all of the hard work you’ve been putting forth in your job hunt might actually pay off. A few days before, you start to assemble your resume, writing samples, and questions to ask in preparation for the big meeting. However, when getting ready for an interview, you cannot overlook social media in your planning process.
These days, employers spend a lot of time looking at your social media profiles when deciding whether or not they want to bring you in for an interview. They do this to determine what kind of person you are, what your experiences are, and if you would fit in with their company. As a job seeker, you need to spend the same amount of time and energy researching a company as they spend researching you.
Not only is it important to find out as much information as you can about the company itself; it is also necessary that you research the person who will be interviewing you as well. The interviewer is just as important as the interview itself—in some cases, they are the only person you will meet in the hiring process, and you need to make a great impression on them.
Below is a 4 part step-by-step process to help you use social media to prepare for an upcoming interview:
Start at home base: the company website. This one is a no-brainer. The company website will give you a sense of the mission and values of the organization, their clients, the company culture, and more. When preparing your questions, try to use keywords or exact phrases that you found on their site. You can even use these in your cover letter so that you “sound” like the company and it feels as if you already fit in with them.
Facebook, Twitter and their blog. Just about every company has a social media presence these days, and you definitely want to check them out. These pages will help you to determine what kind of following they have and how they interact with their clients and consumers. Are they using clever tactics to keep their followers engaged? Do they neglect to respond to inquiries and complaints on these pages? What sort of content do they post or re-post? Spend a lot of time finding the answers to these questions. If there is an area that they seem to be lacking in, you can come up with ideas on how to fix it and mention them at the interview. This will show that you already have concrete ideas on how to improve their work and you’re ready to get started right away with completing them.
The company LinkedIn page. While Facebook and Twitter seem to be the go-to social media profiles to look at, don’t forget about the company’s LinkedIn page. While it might seem that the description is a regurgitation of their website, you need to be more concerned with the rest of the data provided. LinkedIn can tell you how many employees are connected on LinkedIn, their job functions, years of experience, new hires, departures, and more. You can see what new openings they have and, worst case scenario, if someone got the job instead of you. Plus you have access to almost all of their employees; so making new connections is always easy.
The interviewer’s LinkedIn page. Often times you are aware of at least one person who will be interviewing you, and you want to find this person on LinkedIn right away. By finding their profile you can find out how long they have been working there, their educational background, their personal social media accounts, and more. Try and find something in common with them: maybe you attended the same university or are in the same national organization. You can bring this up at the interview (if appropriate) to help them remember you. However, do not request to connect with them on LinkedIn until a few days after the interview. You don’t want to seem too eager!
What ways have you used social media to help you prepare for an interview?Comment here!
Every year here at Solent, our CIPR representative organises a little liaison event between students and PR professionals called Meet the Professionals. This year I’d like to think it was very successful. Not just because we had our own hashtag which you can see in the title (although it was very helpful) or the fact that it was organised by the lovely Claire Hodson, our own course mate, but also because of the number of people that turned up and especially left satisfied.
The event kicked off with two guest lectures, the first one was given by Bill Reed, Managing Director at St. Cross Group. He talked about the importance of opinion leaders and their influence as well as how to manage communication with this stakeholder group. I couldn’t help but think about one of our most recent course discoveries, and might I add a heavily used tool this academic year, the VMM (Valid metrics matrix). The way in which Mr. Reed explained his topic linked in perfectly with what we had been introduced in our PR Strategy unit.
This lecture was shortly followed by David Clare’s presentation (Programme Executive at 33 Digital) on social and digital media and the many uses these have in the PR world. I found this very helpful not only because I am writing my dissertation about luxury brands and their use of social media, but also on a personal level. He encouraged us to try as many social networks as possible and to experiment with our profiles while keeping in mind how we can make them work for us.
After the two lectures we went on to the “speed dating” part of the night where, in small groups, we were able to discuss with the professionals, ask them questions and find out more about what it is they do. Just like last year, I found this part of the evening to be extremely interesting as we had the opportunity to learn new things about the industry from active practitioners.
I noticed that, while I was at the first table the answer to the question “What exactly do you want to do after uni?” was a total mistery but as I was going from table to table asking questions and interacting with the PRos I found myself forming an opinion about the field I wanted to work in. And I observed the same thing happening with my fellow students. By the end of the night I had a pretty good idea about I believed would suit me and where I could use my skills better in the PR world.
All in all, I can say I enjoyed this evening of networking and even gained something more from it, not just contacts, but also an idea of what I’d like to do in the future. I can only hope that my fellow course mates felt the same way and that the professionals enjoyed it as much as we have.