Before you are interviewed for a position, it’s important to find out as much as you can about your prospective employer.
1. Look at the company’s website and do a Google search on the company (as well as the hiring manager you’re interviewing with).
2. “Like” the company’s Business Page on Facebook and read through the page’s posts to get insight into what’s going on at the company. Without going overboard, you can also interact with the Page — you can “like” Page posts, click the “Share” button and add the content to your own profile (with a positive personal comment), and comment on the Page’s posts directly.
3. Use Facebook Business Pages to research companies you’d like to work for, even if they’re not currently advertising an opening that is a fit for your skills. Pick the top five companies that you’d like to work for, and “Like” their Pages. Use the same strategies — liking, sharing, and commenting — to interact with the company.
For smaller companies, this is a great way to start a relationship. You become known as someone who is interested in the company. When you apply with the company, your name may already be familiar to the hiring manager or owner. (Now that Facebook allows individuals to send messages to Business Pages, you can also send a message with a question or idea. When you get a response back, you can also indicate your interest in working for the company, and ask who to direct your résumé to. But don’t lead off with that question. Build a relationship first.)
4. Photos published on Business Pages can also be a great source of research. Many companies will post photos from their events or even simple “around the office” photos. Look at who is tagged in these photos, and see if you can connect with these individuals. If you click through on the people “tagged,” you can see if you know anyone in common, which makes it more likely that a Friend Request will be accepted. Don’t randomly “friend” strangers — but you could contact your mutual friend(s) in common and request an online (or in-person) invitation to meet.
5. Facebook “Fans.If you “like” a Business Page, you can also see which of your Facebook friends are also “fans” of that page. If you click through to their profiles, you can see if any of them work for the company.
6. Facebook “Events”allows companies to promote their online and offline special events. By following a company’s page, you can learn about community events the company is sponsoring or involved in. By attending an in-person event, you can make face-to-face connections.
7. Facebook’s “Subscribe” feature is a two-way street. You can also subscribe to Facebook profiles to see publicly shared status updates in your Facebook News Feed from the individuals you follow (or “Subscribe” to).
Here are some ideas on using this feature:
- Identify key individuals within the company you want to work for (search on the company’s website or use LinkedIn’s Company search feature), and see if they have a Facebook profile with the “Subscribe” feature enabled. (Note: If you “Subscribe” to a profile, that individual will be able to see your name, so if you are conducting competitive research on a company, you may not want to use this feature. Instead, bookmark their page and visit it regularly.)
- Follow “thought leaders” in your industry and use the Subscribe feature to identify trends in your field. With the addition of the “Subscribe” feature, many individuals who would have previously used a Business Page or a blog to share their insights and information can now do so from their personal Facebook profile.
- Identify journalists or other media types that cover your industry and see if they have the “Subscribe” feature enabled on their personal Facebook profile. Staying on top of stories in your industry is another great way to research opportunities in your career field and find emerging companies that may be growing (and in need of new employees).
8. Facebook “Groups”can be a great way for you to conduct research — and make connections. There are literally hundreds of Groups on Facebook, although some of them may be difficult to find. The best way to start your search is using Facebook’s Search feature. (It’s located above the Status box on your News Feed.)
Being prepared for an interview is key to showing a potential employer you have done your homework by being familiar with their company, people, and products. And, Facebook is just one more resource to help you research companies, products, and people during your job search.