You probably know to prepare for your job interview by looking at the company’s website and the LinkedIn profiles of the employees.
But Facebook can also be a great source of information!
Your goal during the job interview is to determine if you want the job, working with these people.
Reaching that conclusion can be difficult to determine during job interviews. Normally it takes weeks and months into a new job before you feel you know your co-workers, but with a little research on Facebook, you can get a better sense of the company culture and the employees' interests.
Yes, LinkedIn provides detailed work information, but people do include their work history on Facebook, too. You may be surprised to discover friends who work there, company reviews, or even public posts that provide helpful insight.
Facebook is one more resource for you to tap into to identify company employees, get insider information about the company, and learn what you have in common with your potential co-workers.
Because people tend to "tell it like it is" on Facebook, Facebook is a great resource to use to uncover insights about a company. And, by the way, employers and recruiters are checking you out on Facebook, too.
Tip: One quick tip before you get started. As you search for this information on Facebook, use your computer, not your mobile device. You have more search options on the desktop version of Facebook.
Here are five ways you can use Facebook to gather information that will help you be better-prepared for your job interview.
Note that, like LinkedIn, Facebook uses "company" as a generic term applying to all categories of employers including nonprofits, government agencies and departments, and other employers who are not technically incorporated.
Many employers create Facebook pages to build awareness of their products, services, and employer brand.
Start by typing the employer’s name in the search box at the top of most Facebook pages.
In the search results, select the "Pages" filter.
If you do find a match, you will see company reviews, featured posts, photos, articles mentioning the company, and posts by friends who mentioned the company name.
Skimming through this information and visiting the company’s page on Facebook might shed light on the company culture.
Look for news or information about products, services, awards, promotions, or any information that helps you understand what is happening in the company:
Do not forget to check out the "Community" tab on Pages (below). If you have any friends who have liked the company page, you will see this information. You may want to reach out and talk to your friend(s) about their experience with the employer (either as a customer/client or as an employee).
If you notice a hashtag mentioning the company name, click on it. You will see any public posts that use that same hashtag on Facebook.
Employers often create a Facebook page to build a pipeline or community for potential employees. Search for the "[employer name] careers" and filter by Page to see if the employer has a specific page for jobs.
Also, try searching other variations like "inside [employer name]" or "life at [employer]." Not all companies have a page dedicated to jobs or careers, but some do.
Once you find the employer’s career page, you may see recruiting events listed (past or future), job postings, and photos or videos of life working at the company. Carefully review each tab on the page as you investigate the company.
Most of the employer’s profile information should align with your LinkedIn research. You want to pay attention to the posts and events the employer shares on Facebook to give you a sense of the culture and people.
As you scroll through the page’s posts, look for comments that might help you understand the hiring process, how they celebrate their employees, or how they give back to the community. And pay attention to how employees respond to questions on the company pages.
If you do choose to post something on the company’s page, do not ask a question that is easy to research. Be polite, and do not provide any personal information in the post, such as phone number, age, or location.
Look for any pages that are for current or past employees. Search for "[company name] alumni" to see if such a page exists. Here you may find people you know or people who are talking freely about their experience with the company.
Groups are one more way for employees to unite and share information. Search for the employer name, and select the "Groups" filter. You will only be able to see public groups, another way to attract people who may be interested in working for the company.
There is no need to join the group to see what is being shared. You can learn a lot by seeing what is posted. You should also look at the names of the group members, as you may know someone.
What if you had friends or family that knew something about the company you are interviewing with? Facebook can help you discover this information.
Enter the company name in the search box at the top of the page and filter by "People." While you may feel like a stalker, do not worry -- no one will see you are looking at their profile. This is Facebook, not LinkedIn!
You can even choose to filter just those people who are "friends of friends."
If you are friends with a current or former employee, reach out by email and ask them for their feedback on the company (employee referrals are most employers' favorite way to hire).
Not everyone has included their work information in their Facebook profile, so the people you are interviewing with (your future manager or co-workers) may not show up this way. For them, enter their name in the Facebook search box at the top of the page.
Then, using information from LinkedIn, filter by city, education or work. If you can find the person, take note of friends you may have in common. Sometimes our friends’ connections are different than their professional connections.
You do not always need to be "friends" in order to see what they post. Many Facebook users post public updates that anyone can see.
When researching potential employees, you are looking for common interests that would help you evaluate whether you would enjoy working with them. To do this, see what they post on Facebook.
You may not choose to reference personal information during the job interview. However, having a shared mutual interest makes it easier to make small talk during the interview. Just be careful not to bring up anything that is too personal.
And, if you have time, you can research some of the other employees in the company, especially those you would be working with closely.
Ideally, you want to have a conversation with someone who works for the company BEFORE you interview so you can better understand the company, its processes and culture. In other words, do people like working for the company and why or why not?
If you do share any mutual connections, your friend could possibly introduce you to the company insider you want to meet via email.
An introduction via email serves as a warm referral and increases the chances of a response.
If you are not already friends on Facebook, avoid sending the person a message or connecting. Your requests may be ignored. You are better off sending an email to your mutual friend requesting an introduction.
Search for the company name and filter by "Posts." Is anyone saying anything less than flattering about working for the company or service from the company? These may be red flags.
If there are posts that are unfavorable, you will want to ask a general question about that issue during the interview.
For example, if several people complained about their boss being a jerk, you may ask the HR person during the interview, "Why do people like working here? And why do people leave?"
Using the information you uncover on Facebook can come in handy during your job interview when trying to build rapport and showing your interest in the company.
For example, you might say,
"It looks like your company has participated in some fundraisers for local children. That really interests me, can you tell me more?"
"I noticed you lived in Washington, D.C. for a while. I lived there, too, several years ago. Where did you live?"
If you noticed negative reviews or customers with questions or concerns, you can diplomatically ask questions.
For example, you might say,
"I noticed that, last month, you announced a new service for companies which need to track customer satisfaction outside of the USA. How has that been going?"
The more you learn about a company and its employees before an interview, the better-prepared you will be for your conversation. The information you discover on Facebook will help you ask intelligent and meaningful questions throughout the interview and may even help build rapport with your interviewer faster. Most importantly, you will have a better sense as to whether the employer and people will be a good fit for you.
Check out Pre-Interview Preparation for more tips on being well-prepared for your job interview using Google and LinkedIn.
Hannah Morgan, Job-Hunt’s Social Media Job Search Expert, maximizes her own personal branding and online visibility using social media platforms. She is a job search strategist and founder of CareerSherpa.net. Selected by LinkedIn as a "Top Voice for Job Search and Careers," follow Hannah on LinkedIn. Also, follow and connect with Hannah on Twitter (@careersherpa) and Facebook (Career Sherpa). To read more articles on how to use social media for job search, visit her site: Careersherpa.net.
More about this author...