Most jobseekers think of LinkedIn as a tool to network with individuals. While LinkedIn is certainly useful for this purpose, it can also provide invaluable information about companies you want to target during your job search.
LinkedIn now allows you to follow all the activity related to a particular company. You can do this by searching for the company on the site and clicking “Follow Company”. This step adds the company’s activity to your news stream on LinkedIn in the same way that adding a connection adds their individual activity. This is an absolutely invaluable tool for keeping track of events at a company you’re targeting.
This information can give you a sense for whether the company is hiring at all and it allows you to see the backgrounds of the candidates who are landing jobs there. It can be frustrating to see who’s beating you out for particular positions but having that information is also priceless for knowing how to position yourself as a stronger candidate going forward. One more bonus: you can tell when someone was hired for a position even if the company doesn’t directly contact or notify you.
The Follow Company feature on LinkedIn also allows you to see how many other people are following that company. If thousands of people are keeping an eye on things, chances are good that you have a lot of competition for open positions there. Additionally, LinkedIn includes very useful information such as the average tenure of employees at the company, the male/female ratio of the staff, and the median age of employees. Larger companies sometimes even indicate which specific universities a high percentage of their staff attended.
The new Follow Company feature on LinkedIn is a great research tool for job seekers trying to find a creative way in to organizations that they otherwise may not have an open door to.