Finding Common Ground: Why Googling Your Interviewer May Land you the Job

March 6, 2017

google your interviewer

OK, this is an experiment, I think.

I have been asked to contribute here by the great folks at SkillGigs. If you’re here, you probably have a pretty good idea of who they are and what they do (if you don’t, y’all better have a look around).

As best as I can tell, this site is all about tech recruiting, and dare I say – young people. There seems to be a dearth of people like me in tech. I am a self-proclaimed #OWG (old white guy) on Twitter. Us #OWGs are the bane of the existence of the rest of the world. We have run everything and kept everyone else out, and now we’re collectively screwing it up, so the rest of you are jumping in and helping us out.

So much for my thoughts, although even with all of my issues I hope to have something to offer up here in terms of hiring, recruiting and this whole space. Us Human Resource folks think we are pretty cool people. Therefore, given the transitive property (check out the old guy’s math reference here) people like us, are cool too.

I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek but here is the point: take me for an example interviewer. I am into ice hockey: I love the game, I referee, I like to bike ride and I am active in SHRM. You tech folks can find all this out with a mere Google search or by checking me out on LinkedIn, let alone if you try to find out the real dirt on me and use some of those fancy techniques that I can’t even spell.

As I mentioned, HR folks, not unlike anyone else, bond quickly with people who have something in common with them or share one of their passions. This has been studied by psychologists and is called the Halo Effect.

I am not suggesting that you go creeping to the nth degree on your interviewer, but it might behoove you to do some looking into their background, what they are into and what they show publicly.  There is always the outside chance that this could be legit, and you discover that both of you enjoy a particular sport or leisure activity. Not that this tactic will get you hired on its own, but it might help.

I was once advised by a mentor of mine, back when this activity was still called personnel: Don’t hire anybody that you don’t like! I don’t think that act is discriminatory, and I don’t think it is always true. I might find someone who has a specific set of skills that I need, and I might feel compelled to hire for that very reason.  So, the inverse of my axiom might be that: it is much easier to choose to hire someone when you truly like them, as opposed to hiring someone who doesn’t give you a warm fuzzy.

Here’s the takeaway.  If you are in the job market and are going to be interviewing, take the time to learn about the company you are interviewing with and the person who will be conducting the interview.  This could end up paying big dividends for you.


Dave Ryan, SPHR is the Director of Human Resources for Mel-O-Cream Donuts International in Springfield, IL. Mel-O-Cream is a medium-sized manufacturer of bakery goods supplying the grocery industry. Dave received his SPHR in 2007, and his SHRM-SCP in 2014. In his long-term employment with Mel-O-Cream, Dave has undertaken many roll outs, project implementations as well as many compliance initiatives.

Away from work, Dave referees ice hockey at various levels. He previously served as the Director of Social Media and Chief Blogger for the Illinois State Council of SHRM (a.k.a. ILSHRM), and then moved to the volunteer role of Co-Legislative Director for ILSHRM, and now is the Director. With the rest of his free time, he thinks, talks and writes about HR and business-related issues. Dave speaks at local colleges and at SHRM events on both HR and Social Media matters regularly. He has been recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the top 100 HR influencers on Twitter.

Dave has two sons and a wife of 37 years. Dave maintains a presence in Social Media, and has participated on the SHRM Blogger squad for the last 4 years at the SHRM National Conferences. In 2014, Dave was a presenter at the SHRM National Conference in Las Vegas. He loves all things electronic. In cyberspace, you can find him on his blog site HROfficial, or at the multi-contributor site called, PerformanceICreate and on Twitter as DaveTheHRCzar

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