Many job seekers find themselves in the hot seat during interviews. Employers press them on past work experience. Their interviewers can vary significantly, ranging from the intimidator to the casual boss. Interviews can stretch over several hours or several rounds.  In short, the interview experience can feel unpredictable and like a crazy ride.

However, what if we turned the tables? What if you were the one interviewing your employer? With so much information available online these days, it’s completely possible to do the right background research.

If you’re on track to landing an interview, take some time to pre-interview your employer online.

Not only will you be more prepared, but also it may give you some insight into your future with the organization. Here’s how:

Look up recent news

Organizations are always going through changes. Keep yourself up-to-date by reading the latest news and updates. This can typically be found in a press or news section of their website or by conducting a simple Google search. In addition, reading up on speech transcripts or watching recent interviews can also provide you with some great information.

Why it’s important: Recent news not only shows you how a company is doing, but also how they’re perceived by the public. So, when you’re in an interview, you can easily mention you read an article about the recent merger or comment on the latest press quote. This shows your interest in the organization, as well as the position.

Check out what others are saying

Perhaps you want to know what previous employees are saying about the company or job. Or, maybe you want some insight from someone who’s been on the inside. To find this insight, take a look for online communities or forums. These communities or forums can give you information on everything from salaries to company culture. Just remember to read any reviews or appraisals with an open mind; some may exaggerate a situation based on their emotions at the time.

Why it’s important: A potential employer may not give you all the information you’re looking for, especially if all you have is a job description. So, when you’re doing some pre-interview prep, learning what others have to say about the employer can provide you with an understanding of how the company works. This can assist you in moving forward or perhaps thinking twice about working with the organization.

Create a conversation on social networks

Social networking sites are a great place to create a conversation with an organization. For example, say they pose a question on Twitter about some recent industry changes. You can comment, retweet, share, and even come back with questions of your own. In addition, creating conversations on social networks can help you to understand how others feel about the organization.

Why it’s important: First, staying active on social networking sites, particularly professionally, is always good for your personal brand. In addition, you’ll be able to understand how customers, former workers, clients, or even the organization feel about the topic. During an interview, you can address these comments or concerns and provide your input as well, illustrating your effort and expertise.

Send the employer some pre-interview questions

Don’t want to address your questions in a public forum? Why not email the employer directly? You don’t have to send a long list of questions, but a few queries here and there won’t hurt. If you don’t have access to an executive or a member of HR, asking an assistant or a receptionist to pass along the questions before the interview is always a great alternative.

Why it’s important: Some candidates show up to an interview completely unprepared. Some don’t even think about coming to the table with ideas, thoughts, or comments. However, when you’re proactive about the interview and send an employer some thoughts, you’ll be one step ahead of the competition. You took the time to think about the industry or the company or the job. That puts you lightyears ahead of other candidates and gives you a positive first impression.

Next time you are on the heels of a job interview, make sure you do some pre-interview prep and interview your employer through the latest news, online forums, your social networks, or directly through email. Doing so we give you some great insight and will help you to prepare sufficiently for the interview.

What do you think? What are some other ways to prep online before an interview?