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Advice / Job Search / Interviewing

The Free Tool That Will Help You Blow Hiring Managers Away

Yesterday, I discovered a tool that digs through the archives of any Twitter account in the world and spits out that account’s top 10 tweets based on engagement. I started by analyzing individuals’ accounts—I did my own and a couple of my friends’ and finally moved on to business leaders I admired, like Joel Gascoigne and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

This was fun—but then I had a revelation. The real potential of this tool wasn’t what it could tell me about a leader I’d love to work for. It was what it could tell me about the companies I’d love to work at.

As you know, you’re much more likely to get the job if you clearly demonstrate that you get its values and what makes it unique. And this is just one more technique that makes getting a company that much easier.

The best part? It’s easy, it’s quick, it’s free, and you don’t even need a Twitter account. Let’s get started!

The Basics

When I start looking for a position in half a year or so, one of the companies I want to apply to is HomeAway. So I found the company’s Twitter handle, @HomeAway, then went to My Top Tweet and fed it in.

Here’s what I got:

I did the same thing for Deloitte and ThoughtWorks.

After I had my top 10 tweets lists for the three companies, it was time to draw some conclusions.

1. You Can Uncover the Company’s Culture

@HomeAway’s top tweet, about living to work versus working to live, obviously resonated with its nearly 30,000 Twitter followers.

I happen to agree with HomeAway on that. But more interesting is what that sentiment says about the company itself—that it’s not one of those companies where everyone fights to be the last one leaving the office at night and the first one arriving in the morning. HomeAway is taking a stance against the corporate rat race.

And when I look through its other top nine tweets, I see the repeated idea that everyone deserves a break, and that your vacation should be spent in a great place with your loved ones.

So if I were interviewing with HomeAway, and the hiring manager asked me, “What do you know about this company?” or “Why do you want this job?” or “What type of work environment do you prefer?” or anything else along those lines, I’d have a solid, insightful answer.

For example, I could say, “I’m looking for a work environment that values hard work, innovation, and excellent customer service—and promotes these by making sure employees have balanced, full lives.”

Then I’d follow with, “And after reading HomeAway’s tweets and learning about its culture, I know it epitomizes this environment.”

2. You Can Learn About a Company’s Values

Five of the firm’s 10 top tweets are about the professional services industry, while the other five are about social causes. For example, last month it tweeted:

“Deloitte stands with all of its people and supports #MarriageEquality for all.” Deloitte also tweeted support for women in tech and our veterans.

So let’s say I’m asked, “Why should we hire you?”

I would respond, “I’m a good fit for this PR role because my journalism and editorial background have given me the tools and knowledge I need to craft great press releases, scout out the best writers and media outlets, and pitch those platforms with compelling story ideas.”

And then I’d add the kicker: “I really appreciate Deloitte’s commitment to using its power for good—for example, how many of your tweets raise awareness for different causes. So, I’d say I’m also a good fit for this job because my values align with the company’s.”

3: You Can Find Out What a Company Is Proud Of

The tweets that performed best for ThoughtWorks mentioned Technology Radar, the company’s report “on the technology and trends that are shaping the future.”

This is job application gold. Every time you apply to a company, you should be searching for a great, compelling reason why you want to work at that place as opposed to, say, its competitor.

Thanks to the insight from ThoughtWork’s tweets, I could insert in my cover letter:

I’m drawn to ThoughtWorks because it’s clearly a leader in the software and technology space. The popularity of Technology Radar shows ThoughtWorks is an organization with a deep and valuable understanding of tech’s present and future—and I’d love to join you in using that knowledge to effect social change.

If I hadn’t seen this tweet, I probably would’ve never known that ThoughtWorks even published a tech status report, let alone know the value of it.

Another popular ThoughtWorks tweet quoted Jim Smith, a ThoughtWorks employee. Smith said all the best leaders micromanage product, not people.

From that, I can assume ThoughtWorkers have a lot of autonomy in their jobs, which happens to be my preferred working style. If asked about my ideal setup during an interview, I’d answer, “I do my best work when given the freedom to pursue the ideas and interests I have that I think will further the company. I know from following you on Twitter that ThoughtWorkers have a lot of independence, which is one of the reasons I know I’d perform well at your company.”

With this technique, you’ll be able to put your finger on what makes a company tick—and then show off that knowledge in the application process. Next thing you know, you’ll be the one tweeting about your new job.

Photo of magnifying glass courtesy of Shutterstock.