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When applying for a job at a new company if you know the name of the person interviewing should you look at their linkedIn profiles?

How would you feel if the candidate you were interviewing appeared in the list of people who have viewed your profile the day before?

  • 9
    It's publicly-available information, and it will (hopefully) prepare you better for the interview. I see no reason why you shouldn't do it. Just don't be creepy about it - don't ask questions that get too personal or in-depth based on what you see on the profile. – alroc Mar 8 '13 at 15:14
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    I would think it would display increased preparation and interest in the position, potentially giving the candidate an advantage. – Dani Mar 8 '13 at 18:01
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    @Dani, agreed, if I saw this from someone I was interviewing, I would be pleased that they were preparing for the interview, not just turning up at the time & place a recruiter told them. – Carson63000 Mar 9 '13 at 6:09
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    It's far more appropriate to look someone up on Linkedin than to do so on facebook. – acolyte May 20 '13 at 14:03
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    @acolyte However, LinkedIn advertises to you who has looked at your profile, Facebook doesn't at least as far as I've seen. – user9158 Feb 20 '14 at 23:36
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In my opinion, it's not just accepted practice, but best practice. Whenever I've noticed candidates poking my Linkedin profile, I was actually positively impressed, as it shows preparation and insight.

What is not cool, is asking for a connection to your interviewer before an interview. Don't do that.

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    Unless they work for a company whose business is social media. In which case, it's considered a plus. – Amy Blankenship Mar 12 '13 at 21:56
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    "What is not cool, is asking for a connection to your interviewer before an interview" Why is this not ok ? – Radu Murzea Feb 20 '14 at 22:17
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    I'd disagree with "no connection pre-interview" as a fixed rule. It depends on how you came to organise an interview. If I'm a pproached by a company to interview with them, after one of two phone call's I'll usually connect with the HR contact I've been speaking with just so we are in touch if the process doesn't go much further than that. – user9158 Feb 20 '14 at 23:39
  • @RaduMurzea As a hiring manager, I don't know you from Adam before the interview. If I interview you and conclude you're terrible, I don't want to associate myself with you on LinkedIn. (FWIW, I won't accept connection requests after the interview either, unless we hire them or they were so good that I want to keep in touch anyway.) – jpatokal May 19 '17 at 1:46
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It is a fair assumption that everyone's linkedin profile is public information, and that all sorts of people could be looking at it at any point in time.

If I noticed that someone I was interviewing looked me up, I would not give it much thought. I really do not see why doing this would impact you negatively in any way.

Personally, I have done that in the past to check if we had worked with any of the same people so that I could inquire about the company from someone I knew. After you work in the same industry/area for a while, you know a lot of the people invovled and this can help you quickly gauge whether you want to work in a given company or not.

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    When I notice an upcoming candidate has viewed my profile, I look on that favorably. It's not going to make or break anyone, but I consider it a small sign of dilligence. – Rex M Feb 20 '14 at 21:37
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I always look up an interviewer on LinkedIn, and I've generally found it helpful.

As a software developer I may wish to know if the person interviewing me has a development background. Particularly with small businesses, you may find yourself being interviewed by the COO, for example. I may answer some questions a bit differently (more or less technical depth, discuss capabilities rather than implementation details, etc.) depending on who I'm dealing with.

Also, reading the job description and history of the interviewer may reveal some things about the company (culture, types of projects, etc).

3

This is absolutely fine, I would certainly do it as part of any interview cycle (and expect anyone I'm interviewing to do the same) - it's just part of the research you should do on a respective employer.

You can learn so much useful info for the interview from this, how long each interviewer has worked for the company, where they were before, is the hiring manager from a technical background etc.

You're missing an important trick if you don't make use of it.

  • 1
    Another thing is that if you're not hiding your profile (anonymous Linkedin Member), the interviewer will see that you are interested enough in the role to be doing research, and it helps me as I can also judge your questions in the light of it. – The Wandering Dev Manager Apr 16 '13 at 14:32
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Reviewing ahead of time

There's not much ettiquette out there - the medium is just too new. I'd say it's still widely variable, but most people treat their profiles as an extension of their public identity - a business card + a resume.

I'd say there's not any harm in looking, and that it's quite unlikely that the interviewer will even notice. Never say never, but if you have a busy profile, it's unlikely you'll take the time to check.

Keep the focus on the work, though. Learn about the job the interviewer does at the company you'll be interviewing in, and move on to what the company does. If you happen to notice a 1st degree connection, it's OK to make note of it and mention it in the interview - but don't stretch for it. Noticing that you share a connection, went to the same school, worked at the same company, or are part of the same volunteer organization is fine. Figuring out the 7 degrees that separate you and having them memorized... is creepy.

One exception: If you happen to realize that the interviewer is someone who has a very public face, who has contributed information/ideas that you admire - it's OK to say it. As a person who teaches, lectures, and writes (here!) alot - I've never minded it, in fact it's nice to know where the market penetration is. Again, though, stay on the casual side "hey, I liked your article/speech/class on Y", and not a long gushing statement about your admiration.

Companies vs. People

You can get a lot more in depth with the company itself, and that's a plus, not a minus. After checking out the profile, do what you can to dig around Linked In or any other source, and see what the company is doing. Knowing something about their business, their suppliers, their current intiatives - is all good stuff. If it comes from LinkedIn - that's fine.

Things not to do with Linked In

The things to avoid are generally the actions - suggesting a connection before you've met is the big one. You're not connected, you don't know each other.

If you get along in the interview and it feels casual, it's OK to ask at the end of the interview - 'Hey, it was great meeting you - mind if I connect to you on LinkedIn?" Do this with a certain caution - there are companies with policies about this, and you may get the response that he simply can't. And don't do it if it isn't genuine - it'll feel false.

And don't use it as a back channel to get around the formal interview process - if you have an official contact relating to interview logistics, stick to them.

3

I would think that any person who would not view it as positive that you are checking out the interviewers and company where you are interviewing is probably someone you don't want to work for. Good companies want people who care about getting the right job and who care to do the research. Being upset at doing something like that would make me believe the person or company has some strong negative to hide.

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What makes you think there is etiquette? This is social media - people make up the rules as they go...

If you feel it would give you an advantage to find out more about the person interviewing you then go for it.

As for them viewing you - this is effectively your store front. You should be selling yourself on here for all you're worth. If there is something in your profile you're not happy with, I'd remove it pronto...

2

I thought this would reflect well upon my preparation for the interview as well, but the people that interviewed me one day were not happy.

I got certain information from their profiles that one of them had been at the present company for 3 years. So I inquired during the interview, and that person responded they had been there 5 years. It didn't square with what I read, so I said, "Well of course I checked out your LI profiles for the interview..." And they were both astonished and shocked that I had done that, much less that I had told them I did it. These were people in the technology sector.

So my advice would be to go ahead and do it, don't worry about whether they see you looked at their profile, but keep it to yourself during the interview.

  • Seems to me the issue here was you disputing information, not that you had it. Arguing in an interesting is something to be undertaken with extreme caution and care. – Dan May 13 '14 at 17:16

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