According to a recent LinkedIn poll, the single biggest job interview mistake people make is not knowing enough about the company to which they’re applying.
With all of the research tools available on the Internet and elsewhere, it is now easier than ever to avoid this mistake. You should always visit a potential employer’s own website first. Then, for additional information and up-to-the-minute insight, proceed directly to LinkedIn Company Pages.
A LinkedIn Company Page is a centralized location to learn about a company’s operations, current news, products and services, employees, job opportunities and more. There are over two million company pages on LinkedIn, spanning a vast number of industries, company sizes and geographic locations.
Where does all of the information on a Company Page come from? The organization itself provides a portion — the company overview, Careers page and Products and Services descriptions. The rest of a Page’s information, including the company statistics and employee information, are based on LinkedIn’s own network data.
This means that on a Company Page you’re getting more information about the backgrounds and career paths of the people who work for that organization. As a potential job seeker, this information provides a guide on what it takes to get hired and succeed at that particular company. For instance, you can learn what universities a company’s employees attended (including who graduated from your own alma mater), what types of employees are receiving promotions and what LinkedIn groups those employees belong to. As you’ll see below, all of this information can help you better craft your LinkedIn profile to attract the attention of recruiters for that company and it can help you find potential referrals into that organization.
To make the most of Company Pages as a job seeker, begin your research on the Search Companies page and follow these easy steps:
1. Find companies that are hiring right now.
First, search for every company on your prospect list. Begin “following” these companiesto stay up-to-date on job opportunities, company news and industry trends. All company status updates will appear on your LinkedIn homepage, so you’ll never miss a new opportunity.
You can find additional prospects by using the search facets on the left side of the Search Companies page. You can search for companies based on location, industry, size, whether they are currently hiring (over 22,300 are hiring on LinkedIn right now!) and how you are connected to that organization. I love this last search option most of all. You can filter a set of results to include only those companies that are hiring AND those where you have 1st or 2nd degree connections. It’s always easier to get a job at an organization where you have support from an existing employee or where a friend can make a personal referral.
2. Make the most of informational interviews.
How do you turn those 1st and 2nd degree connections into opportunities? The best approach is to reach out to request informational interviews from people who work for the companies where you’d like a job. (You can do this directly with your 1st degree connections or through an introduction request for 2nd degree connections.) Write a brief note that says something like this: “I’m very interested in a potential opportunity at XYZ Company and saw that you currently work there. Would you be willing to chat with me for 15 minutes or so and share your experience at the organization? I would be so grateful for your time.”
Most people, particularly if they know you personally or are introduced to you through a trusted contact, will be happy to answer a few questions or share some advice. The trick is to impress them when you’re on that informational call. So, before you speak to anyone for an informational interview, spend at least 30 minutes on that organization’s Company Page to learn about its products, services and current news. The Overview tab of the Page will provide a summary of the company, its recent status updates (the news that company wants its LinkedIn followers to know) and available job opportunities. (The Overview also provides additional insight into how you are connected to employees at the company through your LinkedIn network and university alumni network, which is great for finding even more people to ask for informational interviews.)
Many companies also have “Careers” tabs on their LinkedIn page, where they share more information about working for their organization, such as videos, employee testimonials, awards and recognitions. Review this information thoroughly so you can ask very specific questions during your informational interviews. For instance, “I read about your company’s new environmental initiative — can you tell me more about how that is working?” is a much more impressive question than, “So, what does your company do?” The more you impress your connection, the more likely he or she is to recommend you for an open job.
3. Learn what it takes to succeed. Read the rest of tip 3 and complete Linkedin article