When I notify candidates that they’ve been successfully shortlisted for an interview, one of the first questions they ask me is, “What’s the hiring manager like?”.
It’s certainly a very valid question to ask because as the recruiter, we’d most likely have met the clients multiple times. We’d have insights into the intrinsic skills the hiring manager is looking for, team dynamics and culture, what the organisation is trying to achieve, amongst other things.
Whilst we can offer some insights, there’s nothing stopping candidates from doing a bit of digging themselves. In the world we live in, even what you had for lunch a year ago can be found online! We’re not endorsing hacking of course but what’s in the public domain is, well, public.
A quick Google will always help. But in terms of professional / work-related information, a lot more is often revealed on LinkedIn.
Being a regular user of LinkedIn myself, here’re four things that I found most useful and would often suggest to my candidates to find out about their interviewer.
1. Read between the lines
Check out the profile of the person you’ll be interviewing with is basic and to be expected. I would always ask my candidates to read the person’s summary. Read beyond what the person is saying and think about what is insinuated. A lot can be told about how a person wants to be seen.
2. Work history
How many years has this person been at the organisation? If the hiring manager has been there for a long time, they probably have a very good idea of the company’s and team’s culture. It also probably tells you that it’s an organisation worth staying with – if that’s what you’re looking for.
If they’ve only been there a short period of time, it might not necessarily be a bad sign. Perhaps they’re brought as part of a change. These sorts of considerations will affect the kind of questions you’ll be asking in the interview, and of course, your consideration of the opportunity.
3. Friend’s friend
If there’re some mutual connections – excellent! If you’re close to those mutual connections as well – double plus good. Find out as much as you could from your contacts, for example, What are they trying to achieve at work? What is their leadership style like? How are they like as a person? Are they most likely to be chatty or would they be more direct and prefer to cut to the chase?
4. Break the ice
While not everyone may use it, LinkedIn allows people to detail their personal interests. See if your interviewer has listed their interests – this could be a great source of conversation starters. I had a candidate last time who got interviewed and hired on the golf course!
There’re tons of other information you could derive by doing a bit of detective work. But of course, subtlety is the key here. You don’t want to really come across as a freak stalker. Often, the information you get gives you a good start to get to know the person, so that you could find out more about the opportunity and how it’d suit you.
So, invest 10 minutes into finding out about your interviewer. It’ll definitely come in handy. Happy stalking!