Killer Interview Question: What Does My LinkedIn Profile Tell You About Me?

This week's KIQ comes from LinkedIn's Managing Director of Australia, New Zealand and SE Asia, Cliff Rosenberg. Rosenberg is a big fan of this interview question — and not just because it's conveniently on-brand. Rather, it instantly lets him know whether a candidate has done any homework before showing up for the interview.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Cliff Rosenberg told Lifehacker that this was his favourite interview question during a recent tour of the company's Sydney HQ (stay tuned for a Featured Workspace gallery, coming soon.) He claimed it has the potential to determine whether a candidate will successfully navigate the remainder of the interview.

"Occasionally there will be someone who cannot answer this question because they never looked at my profile," Rosenberg explained to us. This is a failing that he considers to be a big no-no.

"In today's day and age, to not leverage the power of the internet to do your research on a company and the person conducting the interview is crazy. A LinkedIn profile allows you to go in and learn everything about your [prospective employer], from their career progression to where they went to school. When I'm interviewing someone for a position, I expect them to have done this level of research."

In addition to sorting the wheat from the chaff, the above question can also reveal how a candidate will fit in culturally. Rosenberg said he is looking for deeper insights about his profile and follow-up questions from the candidate, rather than just "reading a list of what they've read".

Naturally, you don't have to work for LinkedIn to ask this interview question — the principle applies to any manager with a well-maintained profile. Alternatively, you could make the question broader and ask "what have you learned about me/the company online?" If the candidate is hungry for the position, they should be armed with the necessary info and be able to give a detailed answer.


    A LinkedIn profile allows you to go in and learn everything about your [prospective employer], from their career progression to where they went to school. When I’m interviewing someone for a position, I expect them to have done this level of research.

    This is superfluous information that has little bearing on the job. You expect your candidates to spend time researching tangential information that offers minimal benefit, and you think that's a good thing? Context is key to research, this method will just attract poor planners, scattershot research and suck ups, all of which are really inefficient.

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact you have to sign up with an account to view LinkedIn profiles and your company wants to secure as many accounts and pageviews as possible to maximise its advertising revenue.

      The quote really needs the context that this is for a position AT Linkedin though.
      That's a lot of additional weight to it...

    This is one of the better questions I've seen in this series. It does make sense to ask a candidate something like that. And it's a good thing to think about; you might get a sense of what they're like as a person (only a sense, mind you, not a complete insight). Knowing about your co-workers tells you a bit about the working environment at that company.

    I'm not claiming this will tell you everything about working there, mind you! It just strikes me as an interesting thing to think about. Of course, it relies on knowing who will interview you.

    Because we all know that trolling social media makes a good person for the workplace, right?
    I swear society is going down the toilet these days. Too much narcissistic shit.
    Researching what a workplace actually does = makes sense, and is important to know you're a good fit for a company.
    Stuffing around on social media and giving ego kibbles to your boss who has the equivalent of a social media profile? Total bullshit.

    Basically a variation on the old "What can you tell me about the company?".
    Whilst you should certainly do your homework prior to the interview, it's the sort of question you can reverse to the interviewer and watch them burble like Porky Pig.
    Most interviewers don't even bother reading the CV beforehand, often reading in front of you, whilst you patiently wait, let alone have anything insightful to ask.

    I've interviewed tons of salespeople at 2 different companies over the last 10 years. I never had to ask if they looked me up on LinkedIn - it was obvious if they did or didn't by the questions they asked or the insights they did or didn't offer. Why was this important? Because I need them to do this when they go to meet with a real prospect, and candidates have to display the same skills during the interview as they would if they got hired.

      That's one of the few cases where that skill would actually be part of the job though. Most jobs don't gain any advantage from you digging into the personal histories of other people.

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