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Tweet This While employers are routinely researching candidates via social networking sites and even just Googling a name for the sake of seeing what hits, there are some employers who don’t appreciate the favor being reciprocated. A. Harrison Barnes says it’s important to differentiate between researching a company before an interview and researching the interviewer himself. While many don’t mind it, and in fact are flattered by it, there are those who feel like it’s an invasion — even as they’re doing it to the candidates they’re going to be interviewing.

So why the double standard? Frankly, says Barnes, who’s also the founder of, the interviewers don’t believe their personal lives should factor into a candidate’s efforts of deciding if the company’s a good fit for them. The candidate, however, does have an image that should be taken seriously during the job search. So while it might seem unfair, it’s just the rules of the game called the “job search”. So what should a candidate do or say to avoid any awkwardness in the interviewer?

The founder says keeping in mind that it’s the company you’re more interested in and not so much the interviewer is the key. After all, you may never cross paths with an interviewer again, even if you are the chosen candidate. Your goal is to research the company so that you’re prepared going into the interview. It may be that it’s the only company of its size that posted profits in the third quarter and those are the tidbits of information you want to be armed with. Even if the research reveals less than pleasing information, you can still use it to your benefit. The news not so good . . . and maybe the company’s shares were down in the third quarter? Bring with you the tools that the company can use to change those earnings. Have an efficient way of turning the tide? Let the interviewer know it, “I know the profits were not quite where the company would have liked to see them last quarter, but by reducing carrier fees, I know I can contribute to a brighter return next quarter”.

Finally, says A. Harrison Barnes, even if you do conduct a bit of recon on your interviewer, don’t let him know. Even if your goal is to find that “in”, something that you may have in common that will make the interview more pleasant, your best bet is to find another way of bringing it into the small talk. Otherwise, you run the risk of putting the interviewer off and making him uncomfortable. That, as we know, is a deal breaker, especially when it’s the interviewer’s recommendation alone that determines whether a candidate makes it through to the next round of interviews. A bit of common sense, a sincere effort of learning about the company and a remarkable resume will take your further than running a background check on the individual.

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