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I passed a job interview the other day and during the meeting, the interviewer noticed we had some common interests and I believe this made the conversation more comfortable.

Is it a good idea or not to make research about your interviewer before going to the job interview to try to show your common interests during the meeting?

How would that balance things if the interviewer realises you're trying to get better chance by using this kind of research ?

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    There are other ways to improve your performance on Interviews. This one sounds to me like faking it; what if you don't actually like what your interviewer likes? If you play along and pretend you have same interests could come down at you eventually, as you will have to maintain the Lie.
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:39
  • To be clear, are you talking about professional interests like Java programming or tractor repair or personal interests like the NY Mets or the movie "Avatar?" Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:47
  • @AffableAmber More like professional interests or activities such as the sport the interviewer practices for example.
    – Teasel
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:49
  • "Would that make the person uncomfortable if this become obvious you're playing with it ?" Surely that question is answered in the asking?
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:50
  • @Lilienthal I guess it is yes
    – Teasel
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:54

3 Answers 3

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Be real, be yourself, be genuine.

Don't do research on an interviewer beyond their LinkedIn account. There are many people who would find that rather creepy and/or stalker-like.

Any rapport you build with an interviewer must be real. It's not something you should try to fake. Research the heck out of the company, their products and their practices. Don't research individuals (beyond LinkedIn) unless you want to give off a stalker vibe.

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  • Ok so I should concentrate my research on the company itself and not specially my interviewer?
    – Teasel
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:45
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    Exactly. It shows interest. Do you want to give the impression that you're interested in the company or the interviewer?
    – Chris E
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:47
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    To be clear: it would be fine to bring up a shared interest you found on LinkedIn (volunteering at a particular non-profit, shared alma mater) but not to go "Oh, I saw you tweeted about [favorite band / hobby / ...]"?
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 21:05
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Is it a good idea or not to make research about your interviewer before going to the job interview to try to show your common interests during the meeting ?

The more you know about the company and its employees, the better.

As you just experienced, having common interests with an interviewer can be a good source of discussion.

It makes perfect sense to research a bit and learn what you can about your interviewers. And many interviewers will similarly research about you. It's simply good preparation.

Would that make the person uncomfortable if this become obvious you're playing with it ?

You can certainly go too far and be considered a "creeper". Don't do that.

Keep any comments relevant to the company, job, and perhaps some common interests. Don't comment on the interviewer's family, or the childhood pictures of themselves that they posted on Facebook. That wouldn't go over well.

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  • Thank you for your reply. I was obviously not going to talk about family's picture of my interviewer with him but I was more thinking about indicating that you like something the interviewer does. Not lying but showing them.
    – Teasel
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:47
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Would that make the person uncomfortable if this become obvious you're playing with it ?

I can't speak for everyone but I know it would make me feel uncomfortable if I knew the interviewee was researching my personal interests to make him/her come across as more likable. If you see something obvious on their LinkedIn profile, maybe you could mention it in passing but I wouldn't take it any further than that.

Instead, if there's time for small talk before or after the interview, you could talk about some of your interests outside of work and see if you can find any common ground. Mostly you should focus on making sure you're prepared to answer their questions. Even if they like you as a person, it doesn't necessarily mean they're going to hire you.

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  • As other people said this is indeed not a very good idea to make obvious you made research about your interviewer. I was wondering if it could make the contact with the person easier and I think I got an answer. Thank you :)
    – Teasel
    Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 20:53
  • Yes, spend your time researching the company instead. Interviewers love to see that you're not only interested in doing your job but that you also care about the company as a whole. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 21:06

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