How to Use Social Media to Prepare for Any Job Interview

Whether you’re currently unemployed or just looking for a new job, landing a job interview is a critical step in actually getting a job. These job interviews can be stressful, monotonous, drawn out, and peppered with questions meant to test your personality, wit, patience, and knowledge of the company. While job applicants of previous generations had little resources to prepare for an interview, today’s job market has access to social networks and other types of social media to help prepare for that brutal interview. Here are a few ways you can use social media to prepare for any job interview, whether it’s for retail or C-Level.

Research the Company
If you are blindly applying to jobs based on ads found on sites like Craigslist or Monster, you are likely finding more details about the position available than the company that is hiring. Of course, working any job means working not just in that role, but as part of the larger organization. To make sure you know what the company actually does, its history, mission, and other details like community involvement, make sure you use social media to research the company. One of the best ways to grasp not only the function but environment of the company is to visit its blog. This is usually listed on the organization’s Web site (or you could use Google to find it, too). Additionally, finding the company’s Facebook page and Twitter account can help you get a sense for the voice and personality of the company, current promotions, new products, as well as its approach to customer service. While you may be inclined to join the discussion with your thoughts and opinions, this could impact a hiring decision.

Research the Hiring Staff
When you were invited to the job interview, you were likely contacted by either an HR exec or someone who will actually be involved in the formal job interview. Whether you received a call for a job interview or were invited by email, consider taking the opportunity to ask who you’ll be meeting with. You can then look up these employees’ profiles on LinkedIn to research what they do at the company, as well as what their interests and personal goals are. This information could lead to potential interview topics, as well as help you assess what kind of personality you will be encountering. Looking for the hiring staff on Twitter can also lead you to information about the company that they personally care about, as well as other personal interests that you can leverage in the interview to demonstrate that you would be a good personality fit for the company — or at least with the management.

Research Employees
A job interview is less about demonstrating your skills and expertise, which is obvious on your resume and cover letter, but more for the company to assess that your personality and demeanor are a good match for the existing environment of employees and established culture. If you don’t know what this culture looks or feels like, consider researching employees on Twitter and LinkedIn to get a sense of their personalities, interests, schedules, and prior work history and education. Employees of a company can be easily found via the company’s LinkedIn page, and some, like Zappos, even list their employees’ Twitter accounts on their Web page. While you should definitely not start stalking employees of your prospective employer, you can use the information they share to determine what type of personality and other background the hiring staff will be looking for during the job interview.

Has social media ever hurt or helped you get a job? Let us know your experiences in the comments.