So you are looking for a new job too? Neat!!
I am a recent bootcamp grad starting to look into jobs and one thing has been standing out to me... I am being told to OSINT (Open Source Intelligence Gathering) anyone that might interview me and any company that I might interview with.
For those that don't know, Open Source Intelligence Gathering is, I feel, pretty self explanatory of a phrase, but not as easy as it sounds to get good information.
It is the process of gathering information/data on someone, or a business, from information that is publicly available.
Social media accounts are a great example of a place to find information as people usually post a lot of information on there without thinking about it. Anything from a family tree to what you did last summer could be found just by browsing someones public social media account and there is a lot of information there to be collected.
But if social media accounts are not full of information that is useful this is where it gets difficult. For anyone that has ever Googled someone before a date, you understand that a good Google search can bring back a lot of public records, newspaper articles, or even things that their high school wrote about them growing up. This is where some technical skills come in that really help and really makes OSINT a powerful/creepy thing.
So, according to my career coaching service through my bootcamp I should be.......
Researching your interviewers on LinkedIn (and Google) before interviews so you have a deeper understanding of not only what is important to them in the work context, but also of them as an individual, their career path, interests, etc. This is helpful in finding a commonality so that you can ‘break the ice’ as soon as you meet them. Did you both come from a bootcamp or graduate from the same school? Are you both from the same home town? Do you both follow the same sports teams or volunteer for the same non-profits? Do you have friends/connections in common? Don’t disregard these things! As small as they may seem, they can make a huge difference in your ability to instantly connect and build a strong and positive rapport with them. People like to hire people like them (on the same page, similar mindset, attitude, etc.) and that fit well into their culture. Leverage the available information out there to help you do this successfully. By doing so you will also show your interviewer that you are serious about the role and have a great work ethic. After all, how well you research them is an indication of how thorough you will be in the job.
I understand the idea of "breaking the ice" BUT at what cost? You don't want to come across as the crazy person that stalked your interviewer and knows the type of cat they have and their nickname.
I recommend keeping it casual and broad topics that relate to the job. IF it comes up make it something that YOU bring up and ONLY when the topic swings that way somehow. If they are asking you to write an algorithm that finds the 74th number in the Fibonacci Sequence it's probably not good to bring up cats.
However, if I found out that they had a cat and it came up naturally that I was talking about my cat, I could ask if they have any pets and not straight away ask about them by name. Granted, I hope talking about cats would not come up naturally during an interview but you gotta roll with the punches sometimes.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you do massive amounts of Googling when you have a job interview or do you wing it???