Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Social media can be invaluable for job interview preparation but know your boundaries

Most jobseekers these days are well aware of how an inappropriate tweet or Facebook post can negatively affect how they are perceived by employers. Many, however, are unaware that even sending a LinkedIn connection request to their interviewer ahead of an upcoming interview might be looked on unfavourably.

Social media is an important networking tool, but when job-hunting, it’s important to understand there are professional boundaries. There is a difference between researching to prepare for your interview and crossing the line from an enthusiastic candidate to a pushy and aggressive one.

That line definitely gets crossed when a candidate sends a request to their interviewer to connect on LinkedIn before or immediately after an interview. If you get the job then by all means connect, but until then it can make you seem presumptuous as you are implying a level of familiarity that doesn’t exist. The same rule applies to all social media – so do not send a Facebook friend request either.

So what can you do? Well, it’s perfectly acceptable to research your interviewer on social media, provided you focus on certain things.

First, determine how their role relates to the one you have applied for – this can give you a better idea of how to focus your answers, for example on the technical aspects or on the implementation process.

Second, read any published blogs or articles written by your interviewer. It will give you an insight into his or her point of view on current industry trends. You can even comment on one or two of their industry-related blog posts. If you make an insightful comment, your interviewer may recognise your name when it comes time for your interview – but don’t overdo it.

It also pays to research the company you are interviewing with on social media. It gives you insight into what it may be like to work at this company in addition to their brand values and successes, and you can get a feel for the type of person who is likely to excel in the organisation.   


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Don't be too social.