You probably realize you need to research the company in more depth to get a good idea of how you’ll fit into their culture (although you should have done some of this research when submitting your application materials). But did you consider investigating your future boss?
Here are a few ways to find out a bit more about your potential supervisor:
Read through company bios. Visit the company website and look for an “About Us” section. Often, individual employees are listed with short biographies about themselves. You can learn how long your future boss has been with the company and the specific expertise that person brings to the organization. The website might also include additional information, such as interests, hometown, and favorite quote, movie, food, etc.
Google him or her. Type the individual’s name into Google with quotation marks. Of course, if they have a common name, you may not find anything that pertains to that individual (in that case, you might want to add the company name or industry to the search string in order to narrow the results). But you may find their personal website, blog, social networking profiles, quotes in news articles, or other relevant results that can help you learn more about him or her.
Also, look at company reviews, focusing on customer and employee complaints. Do any of the rants mention your future boss? What do they say about the individual? Does a glowing review of the company have to do with your potential supervisor? In today’s world of online customer service and employer branding, you can learn a lot about an individual (and the company) through a simple Google search.
Find him or her on Twitter. You can often get a good sense of a person’s personality through Twitter—and, if nothing else, what types of interests and passions they have. Once you find their account, follow them to see what updates they post in the future—who knows, they might even mention something pertaining to the hiring process for the position you’re vying for.
Look to LinkedIn. With more than 100 million professional accounts on LinkedIn today, it’s likely that your future boss has one. You can learn about her past job experiences and skills by reading her profile. Look at the recommendations listed to get a sense of her work personality and accomplishments. You can also check out which groups she’s involved in and see how she interacts inside of those groups—Is she helpful? Does she often post content?
Pay attention to photos. On social networking profiles, company websites, and through search results, you might be lucky to stumble upon some pictures of your potential boss. Take note of how he dresses—is the individual always in a conservative suit? Does he tend to wear more casual clothes to the office? This can help you determine what the culture of the company is like and how you’ll be expected to dress on a daily basis.
Ask current or previous employees. Are you connected to someone who works for the company now (or did in the past)? Ask them about your potential future boss—they’ve had the chance to interact with the individual and likely know more about him or her than any search results can tell you.
Did you (or will you) research your potential boss to help you land a job?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010) and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.