Once I have an interview set up, I use LinkedIN to find first-degree connections that are currently working at that company. I also use LinkedIN to find strangers who are working at companies that are currently using the products of the company I am interviewing with. Talking directly to end-users is very powerful because I learnt first-hand about the strengths and weaknesses of the products. From there, I can think of possible solutions. Armed with first-hand information, I was able to even tell the interviewers information that they did not know. They were very impressed.
For example, when I was interviewing for Khan Academy, I reached out to strangers on LinkedIN who are currently using Khan Academy in their teaching. I reached out to 8 people and was able to talk to 3 strangers. After finding the right person to connect, this was a brief message that I wrote asking to connect:
- “Dear Nick, Great profile. It is a pleasure to connect with another educator. I am preparing for job interview that covers education in Australia. If possible, I would like to connect to learn more from your in-depth experience. Cheers, Lily.”
After he added me back on LinkedIN, I write a longer message (see below) to ask for a 10 minutes phone call to learn from him. Nick shared with me important industry trends and specific advises on how to make the product easier for him to use. I am so touched by the kindness of strangers. And I am so inspired to help others back.