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So I was short-listed by the HR of a french company and whose CEO is also french. The interview is the day after today.

Upon looking up the satellite data gathering system the company relies on, I am very tempted to drop the CEO an email to inquire about the technology and the more intricate details with which the satellite system plays a role in data gathering.

The CEO comes from a technical background as I do. I have visited the profile of the CEO and he has checked mine out too.

Is it a good idea to establish contact at this point? Would I come across as a potential competitor? What are off limits?

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Is it a good idea to establish contact at this point?

Yes, why not make an introduction? Let the CEO know what position your applying for, and keep the email fairly brief.

Would I come across as a potential competitor?

I think if you dig too hard for the technical details of their operation you could be viewed more as a competitor versus a candidate. I would avoid this if I were you.

What are off limits?

This one is a little tough. I would stick to being professional, general questions about the company and the culture are good, and maybe dig deeper into the business model.

I would avoid any type of compensation questions.

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