“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”— Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Meeting a potential new client, presenting before a finance committee, or interviewing for a job should not be considered an adversarial role, yet the principle still applies.
Everyone Does It
You’ve seen it in the movies. People study up. In the 1977 movie, The Spy Who Loved Me, Russian Major Anya Amasova greets James Bond at a bar: “Commander James Bond, recruited to the British Secret Service from the Royal Navy. License to kill and has done so on numerous occasions. Many lady friends but married only one. Wife killed …”
Too far in the past? No problem. In March 2017, the Independent reported German Chancellor Angela Merkel studies interviews and speeches before meeting a new leader. She even read a Playboy interview with Donald Trump before meeting the president.
Besides, the person across from you has likely done the same thing, especially if it’s a job interview. Forbes ran an article describing how job interviewers review a candidate’s Facebook posts, looking for red flags.
How to Snoop
Are you really snooping? Of course not! This is information people voluntarily post, expecting it to be shared. There are ways LinkedIn members can browse anonymously or shield certain information if they choose. This is public information.
What can you learn? How is it useful?