The other day I heard another story of a job interview gone wrong. My friend (the hiring manager) asked a candidate if he had any questions. To which the candidate replied, “Tell me a little about yourself." Just like that his interview was over. The hiring manager was more than annoyed that the candidate would ask a question that could have easily been answered by spending a little time online.
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. But, don't stop there. Depending on the industry they may be on Instagram and Pinterest too. Read what they've posted on social media. It will give you some insight into the company's culture. Are they run and irreverent? Or are they all business? It can also provide clues, if not actual information, on things like their target customers. Make sure to review the LinkedIn profiles of company leaders. This includes the people you'll be interviewing with, your potential boss, and his or her boss as well. You never know who you'll be asked to meet if the interview is going well. If you're lucky, you'll find names on the company website. If not, just do a search on LinkedIn. You may find that you share the same alma mater or outside interests; which may prove valuable when you're trying to build rapport. Before closing the interview, most recruiters and hiring managers will ask if you have any questions. “No, I think you've covered everything," is not the answer they want to hear. So be sure to have some thoughtful questions prepared in advance. Questions that show you have done your homework and are looking for additional insights. Don't make the mistake of asking questions that could easily have been found by spending an hour online. Even if your lack of initiative doesn't immediately take you out of the running, it will certainly not leave a good impression. It probably will not put you on the short list. And isn't that where you want to be?