If you’ve made it to the interview round, give yourself a pat on the back. In this competitive job market, landing an interview is an accomplishment that should make you proud.
Now’s your time to wow your interviewer by doing some extensive research on him before entering his office. Researching your interviewer puts you ahead of your competition in more ways than one—for starters, it helps you learn about the company in addition to the interviewer and makes the conversation flow better, easing your nerves and making you appear more confident.
Ready to start researching? Here’s what you should look for:
Conversation starters. Looking through this person’s bio: What do you have in common? Did you work at the same company, go to the same college or university, or are you members of the same professional association? Finding commonalities can make the interviewer seem less scary and help you relate to him or her during the interview.
Interview style. What type of questions will the interviewer ask you? Have they written on the topic of interviewing before, and what do they emphasize the most? Has anyone else written about his or her experiences with this interviewer? Were they good or bad? Once you know the type of interview questions they may ask, don’t forget to practice your answers to those questions! (Hint: You might want to look at Glassdoor’s Interview feature.)
Important skills and qualifications. The job description should be a good indicator of the skills and qualifications desired by the company, and make sure to emphasize your experiences so the interviewer knows why you’re best qualified for the position. But is there anything else you can gather from your research that might be important to talk about during your interview? Perhaps the company website emphasizes teamwork on the job; if so, remember to discuss your experiences with working in a team at previous workplaces.
Potential questions to ask. Make note of anything interesting about the organization or the interviewer that you’d like to ask during the interview. People love to talk about themselves, so an interviewer is often pleasantly surprised when a candidate has done enough research to ask thought-provoking questions about them.
Friends or colleagues in common. Did you find the interviewer on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter? Who do you both know or follow? How does the interviewer know this person? Friends in common can be a good way to start the conversation and potentially make the interviewer remember you better.
What else should job seekers look for when researching an interviewer?
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.