Google-stalking your interviewer is smart

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A colleague writes:

I’m wondering if the landscape is changing regarding new graduates seeking jobs. Was talking with a friend from college who does a lot of interviewing, runs her own ad agency, and recently she’s been asked by kids to show them HER Facebook and job website, a complete reversal. It was as if they were interviewing her!

And what’s wrong with that, I ask? As new grads stream into a tight job market this summer, they’d do damn well to equip themselves for interviews with every tool in the box—Facebook being one of them.

Here’s what I’d do if I were up for a job at, say, an online magazine I admire. I’d start by Google-stalking the editor. I’d pore over his Facebook page, find out if I know anyone in his LinkedIn circle, nose through his nightstand book pile on GoodReads. I’d read a clip of his wedding announcement in the local paper, I’d Zillow his house, I’d bookmark the latest book he’s written on Amazon so I can quote from a review and sound like I’d read the whole freaking exegesis on the history of war.

In principle, this isn’t much different than what I did when I graduated college in 1992: I researched the heck out of the magazines I hoped would hire me. It’s just that I could cull only so much from musty back issues in the library. What’s more, as a state school grad from overseas with zippo connections in the blue-bloody industry, I had little way to know much at all about the interviewers.

Here’s where young job seekers today have a huge leg up on previous generations: you have at your fingertips a vast, deep, free resource. Here’s the disadvantage: you have no excuse not to know the name of your interviewer’s chihuahua.

My colleague is right: the job-seeking landscape has changed, and not just for new grads. As Iconoculture points out,

Even though few people report getting hired through MySpace or Facebook — or even LinkedIn, for that matter — coworkers and employers increasingly are using them to expand contacts and connections…. With 1 in 7 consumers feeling insecure about their jobs and the economy in a bad place, it’s no wonder that tech-comfy people are using every tool they can think of to chase the wolves from the door.

Have you Google-stalked a potential employer or client?

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