How to Research Job Candidates Before the Interview

By Victoria Robertson on July 25, 2017

When interviewing potential job candidates for a position, there are many considerations outside of experience that come into play, including personality, drive, education, and interests. Unfortunately, a job interview doesn’t always provide the full picture when it comes to whether or not a candidate will be a fit for a given position.

For this reason, additional screening can take place prior to an interview in the form of research. However, what are the best ways to gather new information about a candidate? And, perhaps more importantly, which information is pertinent to the job and which is not?

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To provide some guidance in your employment search, here are three ways to research job candidates prior to the interview.

1. LinkedIn

This social networking site is of the utmost importance when it comes to a potential candidate. For one thing, it demonstrates their seriousness about seeking an employment opportunity. A candidate that’s serious about a job will have a LinkedIn page that’s updated, complete, and professional. These are great items to screen for right off the bat.

In addition, LinkedIn gives you an opportunity to view their network, look into their interests and see if these align with the position for which you’re interviewing them. If you’re interviewing a candidate for a writing position but their profile doesn’t speak to their interest in writing, you may have some red flags to follow up with in the interview.

The goal here is to get a better feel for the individual as a professional and to gather questions to get to know the candidate beyond what’s written on their profile. In doing so, your interview time slot will be much more productive.

2. Social media search

It is a bit of a taboo, but when you’re an employer seeking a candidate for your organization, you want to make sure that the person is the right fit. An employee needs to reflect an organization’s values, and if they don’t, they are not a fit.

For this reason, it is important to seek out the individual’s social media profiles. For one, if they are actively applying to positions, they should be aware that all information on the internet is subject to searches by potential employers, so their sites should be cleaned up. That being said, it is still a personal profile, so don’t expect a continuation of the LinkedIn page.

Instead, your social media search should involve finding out who this person is outside of work. What are their hobbies, how do they act towards others? What are their interests? These are important questions for interviewers to ask, as they do reflect who that person is. While there shouldn’t be a large majority of emphasis on this portion, it should still be considered by hiring managers.

3. Utilize their resume

In addition to the basic social media searches, you will want to also utilize the individual’s resume to do some digging into their background. You can research the school they graduated from, the companies that they have worked for, and any other pertinent information listed on their resume.

While this may not seem very important, it can give you some interview topics to cover. For instance, you can ask questions regarding their experiences at past companies based on the research you come across, gathering more insight as to what the relationships were like with their last employers. You may also get immediate insight into why a position ended (i.e. if a company went out of business or relocated).

Essentially, most of the information you need to gather here can be discussed more in depth during the interview, but researching the resume prior to the interview provides you with a leg up in terms of asking the right questions and digging into the important topics during the interview, ones that you otherwise wouldn’t have known to cover.

Though it may not seem that way, interviewing candidates for an open position is difficult. You are not only seeking a candidate that has the right experience, but you are looking for somebody that’s going to fit in with your team, that can handle themselves in a professional environment and that has a genuine interest in the position.

Nowadays, retaining employees is a nightmare, as there’s always another position at the tips of their fingers. Therefore, retention truly begins with the interview process, and only through proper screening can you determine whether or not the candidate is going to be the right fit.

There is still a lot left up to chance, and you can never truly know a person’s motivations, but this is a great start in terms of getting you ahead of the interview process and prepared so that you can make the right decisions when it comes to your hiring needs.

Happy hunting!

By Victoria Robertson

Uloop Writer
University of Illinois
Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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