When it comes to preparing for an interview, there are many different things that you can do to get ready. I wrote another blog called “Interview Like a Pro”, which outlined four simple things you can do to prep for an interview.
To take your preparation one step further, I wanted to add three things that you could do specifically on LinkedIn before an interview to gain an additional edge.
When I googled “What is LinkedIn used for?” the best two responses I found were: 1. “A social networking site designed specifically for the business community”, and 2. “It’s like facebook for your career.”
I thought both were actually very accurate. LinkedIn was created to be a social networking site for the business community. It is full of business professionals, hiring managers, recruiters, companies, and different business associations. Not to mention loaded with constant information ABOUT what’s happening with these businesses and general industry updates. There is a constant stream of videos, articles and posts keeping you up to date.
Then there was the part of “facebook for your career”. I really liked that description too. Even though I am not really on Facebook that often, I liked the idea of keeping your LinkedIn as up to date as many do with their facebook account.
Overall, LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool that you should be utilizing before and during any interview process.
When I was talking to a candidate the other day, I realized that there were 3 key actions you should be taking on LinkedIn before you submit your resume and / or go on an interview.
Let’s take a look at all 3 and break down why each one is important.
This first key action we’ll cover is what you should be doing on LinkedIn BEFORE you start actually interviewing anywhere.
- Update your profile
This is where treating LinkedIn like Facebook comes in. Having an up to date LinkedIn is crucial when you are starting to look for new opportunities. You can actually set a hidden status on your Linkedin profile to help recruiters know you’re actively looking for new opportunities, definitely worth doing if you are looking for a change.
It’s important to have your overall profile updated for a couple of reasons. First, it is the main tool that recruiters and hiring managers at companies use to find people for new positions. We will search LinkedIn based on titles, previous and current companies worked at, and then keywords. For YOU it’s important that your profile is full of accurate titles, companies and exact timelines on your work history. Keywords in your profile summary and job descriptions can help someone search and easily find you.
Being a recruiter who is on Linkedin all day everyday, I can tell you honestly that I will determine whether or not I call a candidate based on their LinkedIn profile. And I know for a fact that I am not the only one. For that reason alone you want to make sure you update your profile. You don’t want to miss out on all the opportunities that are out there.
Some of the basics you should be updating right away are:
- Your profile picture
- All previous work experience is updated and accounted for with accurate timelines
- There are brief (very brief) descriptions of what you did in each role, quotas attained, awards won, technologies worked with, ectc.
- Certifications and degrees listed
- If you can speak different languages
I will write another blog with more details on the in’s and out’s of updating your LinkedIn, but we’ll start here for now!
Now the next two suggestions are things that you should do on Linkedin BEFORE you have an interview with a hiring manager. These are searches you should do before an interview to prepare yourself on who you will be speaking to and any recent news about the company.
- Look up all the people you are interviewing with on LinkedIn
Just like your own LinkedIn, the hiring manager or person you are interviewing with should also have an up-to-date LinkedIn to give you more insight on their background and the type of person they are.
It will show what companies they worked for, what positions they held, what schools they went to, and common connections between the two of you. These are all things that will help you understand their background and where they came from. It will help you find any commonalities that you can talk about and formulate questions to ask the hiring manager during the interview (either about their background or their career progression).
I am not the final decision maker, but I am ALWAYS impressed and flattered when someone takes 5 minutes to look at my LinkedIn before we have a call. It’s another that demonstrates you care and are genuinely interested in the opportunity in front of you. That small action goes a long way and leaves a lasting impression on the person interviewing you.
- Look up the Company profile on LinkedIn
Coming back to the idea that LinkedIn is, “a social networking site designed specifically for the business community.” Just like our LinkedIn profiles tell the world about our personal background, interests, accomplishments, education. A company’s LinkedIn profile should do the same thing, except it’s an entity and not a human.
All companies on LinkedIn have a profile with tabs for ‘Posts’, ‘About’, ‘Jobs’, ‘People’, and ‘Insights’ (‘Insights’ is only available if you have a premium account). The profile page also has a link to their specific external website and to the different people who work at the company. It has ALL of the things you would need to prep for an interview on ONE page.
My three go-to’s to learn more about a company on their LinkedIn Pages are the ‘Post’ tab, the ‘About’ tab and then a link to all the different people who work at the company.
There is a tab that says ‘Post’, and this tab will tell what the company is doing in the market, accomplishments they made, recognitions they have received, and sometimes just important articles they post about what’s happening in their industry. This can help you get a quick update with what they are up to and what kind of player they are in the market.
Then there is an ‘About’ tab which gives you a very high-level overview of the basics of the company, when were they founded, are they public or private, how many people work there, a brief description of what they do, etc.
Then the link to all the people who work/have worked at the company is a pretty powerful tool. By knowing who works or has worked at the company, you can easily connect with them for insight on the work experience or see if they’re interested in providing a referral. Having some type of connection on the inside makes a huge difference when interviewing at a company.
A company’s LinkedIn profile should give you all the basics you need to know ahead of your interview.
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool and we should all be taking advantage of it for both our businesses and our own personal brands.
Try these three things before and during interviews and I guarantee you will:
- Get more recruiters reaching out to you about more opportunities
- Have you more topics and talking points with a hiring manager
- Will feel more confident going into that next interview, knowing that you did your research and have a solid understanding of the company
Hope this helps!