Why research the interviewer before your phone interview?  Look at it this way:  The job interview is a sales process in which you are both the product and the sales rep.  One of the first rules of sales is “Know Your Customer.”  You can’t sell effectively unless you know a little something about your customer.  How annoying is it to have a sales rep come up to sell you something without even asking a few questions about your problems or issues?  They have no idea what you’re interested in, so they’re not effective.  The same principle is at work in the interview process.

What Should You Search For About the Interviewer?
You don’t want to become a stalker…you just need some background on this person.  Where are they from?  How did they come up in the business?  What hobbies do they have? 

Some things are going to help you establish rapport.  Maybe you share a hobby.  Or maybe you’ll find out that your interviewer is a member of PETA, so you’ll decide not to talk about your love of hunting.

And some things will help you decide what to focus on in your call.  The interviewer’s career background might provide some clues as to what he or she values.  If you can talk about similar things in your own background, that’s going to give you an advantage in the process.

Use LinkedIn to Research the Interviewer
LinkedIn profiles are invaluable sources of information.  What jobs have they had?  What groups are they in?  What things to they talk about in their status updates?  All these things can give you important clues that will help you in your conversation.

Use Facebook to Research the Interviewer
Since Facebook is more of a social site than LinkedIn, you’re going to be able to get another perspective on your interviewer.  It should give you a more personal look at this person:  what do they post?  What do they think is funny?  How active are they?

This research is going to make you feel more comfortable speaking with this person.  You’ll feel like you know them a lot more than just going in cold.  It should make you more comfortable, which will make you more confident.

Use a Photo?
One more trick that might make you feel more comfortable in the phone interview is to grab the interviewer’s profile picture off either LinkedIn or Facebook and put it on your computer screen while you talk so you feel more like you’re talking to a person.  For some people, it makes them feel more at ease. 

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee is a career coach and the CEO of Career Confidential, a website dedicated to helping job seekers get the jobs you want fast. Learn more on the Career Confidential website =>  http://www.careerconfidential.com/ 

Find more tips on phone interviews in this series, Phone Interviews: The 37 Most Essential and Extraordinary Tips That Will Get You To the Face-to-Face =>  http://careerconfidential.com/phone-interviews-tips-series/