Hank called me on Tuesday last week. He had an interview scheduled for Friday. I like helping give people the inside story on potential jobs, but I had never heard of the company where he was interviewing. Bummer.

But that was no problem, because Hank was way ahead of me. He had already used Linkedin to figure out that my friend Bill used to work at this firm. I have not talked to Bill in years, so I sent him a quick email to ask if he would mind talking to Hank. Of course he was happy to help.

So Hank went to his interview on Friday, having already done some “reference checking” on his potential new boss BEFORE the first interview. (Bill thought the boss was a micro-manager).  Was Bill just a disgruntled former employee?  Is the boss’s management style going to be a deal-breaker? I don’t know, but at least Hank went in knowing exactly what to look for.

We’ve talked before about using LinkedIn to help get an interview, but don’t overlook its power in helping you connect with former employees at a company you are considering.  You can use what you learn to help you interview much more effectively.