Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I have a confession.

I have a confession to make, I'm an internet stalker - sort of.  I've been doing a lot of interviews over the last few months.  In addition to researching the company and the position, I've also been researching the individuals I'll be interviewing with.  It's amazing, and a little bit scary, what can be found on the internet.  With one perspective boss I was able to find his personal twitter account, his religious activities, his political point of view, that he likes basketball and not football, he has three kids, his address and even the value of the house he's living in- thanks to public tax records.  For another I was able to find some publications he did at a previous job, pictures of his wedding and even that he was a big fan of Dr. Who.  (I didn't get the chance to ask which doctor is his favorite - I'd go with #5 or #11, but didn't want to get to controversial in an initial interview.)  And a third, I read his wife's mommy blog and probably found out way to much about his family.

Through LinkedIn I'm able to find out about a persons background, and also their network.  I've been able to successfully use this to get my resume in front of someone who's a 'friend of a friend of a friend'.  I'm also able to keep tabs on who else they're connecting with recently, which may be my competition for the position.  While I was at my last job, I was able to predict with a fair amount of accuracy who was about to leave based on their activity on LinkedIn.  Someone who suddenly updates their profile and starts connecting with people senior to them in the industry is probably interviewing or at least looking at moving on.

I'm working on my addiction - not sure if there's a Professional Internet Stalker's Anonymous.  In the meantime, I thought I'd use my little piece of the internet to warn others.  There is a ton of information about you on the internet.  Whether you're the one being interviewed, or the one interviewing, expect to be Googled and searched on LinkedIn at a minimum.  Candidates are regularly advised to clean up their online profile before applying to any new position.  Those on the other side of the table don't get similar advice.  You may not want your perspective employee to see that you like to dress up in Cosplay and attend ComicCon annually before they know what color of carpet is in the lobby.  

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