Why you shouldn’t contact a hiring manager before an interview

Don’t do it.

The hiring manager (who should be the key interviewer) is typically very busy and doesn’t have the time to coach you on your interview. There is also nothing in it for them — so you’re burning their time. They may be recruiting for several different positions at once and have a healthy candidate pipeline for each.

As a hiring manager, I expect candidates to do their homework on the company and its products/services. You want to come across as a self-starter who does everything they can to learn and explore for themselves before asking for help.

Everyone is on LinkedIn these days, so use it! See who it is you’ll be interviewing with. Also, read up on analyst reports that cover the company and its competitors. Read what it says in Glassdoor or other sites.

DIY when it comes to company research

There are so many Internet resources these days to research companies and you can often get free copies of things like analyst reports (e.g., a Gartner Magic Quadrant on their space) from companies in the same space who have purchased reprint rights. Read their press releases. If they publish investor decks, read those — it will lay out the corporate strategy and priorities. Venture Funded? Check out Crunchbase and read the articles on the company.

If you have done this then you’ll know where to focus and have done much of the required preparation. If there is a recruiter for the position they may be able to answer basic questions like dress code, what to expect during the interview process, the best place to park nearby (if applicable), etc.

Follow Dan Holliday’s advice about the STAR approach for behavioral questions, but also have good, concise answers worked out in advance for “useless-but-common interview questions” like “Tell me about yourself?”, “What’s your greatest weakness?” and so on. Not everyone on the interview team may be a good interviewer, but it is important they feel positive about you even if they don’t know what to ask. Practice those canned answers on a friend to see if they work, then refine, rinse and repeat.

This post was originally published on Quora.com.