Social media is an important networking and researching tool, but there are boundaries and jobseekers need to be aware of the appropriate way to utilise social media before and after a job interview.
It makes sense to look at publicly available information on social media as part of your pre-interview research. But there is a difference between researching in order to prepare for your interview and crossing the line from an enthusiastic candidate to a pushy one.
That line definitely gets crossed if you send a request to your interviewer before or immediately after an interview to connect on LinkedIn. If you get the job by all means connect, but until then it can make you seem presumptuous as you are implying a level of familiarity that doesn't exist.
The same rule applies to all social media – so do not send a Facebook friend request to your interviewer. It is not appropriate and more than anything points to your inexperience when it comes to professional business conduct.
So what can you do? It is perfectly acceptable to research your interviewer on social media, provided you focus on:
• Determining how her or his role relates to the role you have applied for – this can give you a better idea of how to focus your answers, for example on the technical aspects or on the implementation process.
• The culture of the organisation – you can get a feel for the type of person who is likely to excel in the organisation.
• Projects and clients – you can go into your interview understanding the type of projects or clients the organisation works on and with.
• 1st degree connections in common – you can check if you have any former work colleagues in common. If you do, ask if they can tell you anything more about the company.
• Published blogs or articles – read any published blogs or articles written by your interviewer. It’ll give you an insight into his or her point of view on current industry trends.
• Comments – you can comment on one or two of her or his industry-related blog posts. If you make an insightful comment your interviewer may recognise your name when it comes time for your interview, but don’t overdo it.