Discovering where someone works can be a great way to make a connection and learn about the people you encounter day-to-day. But if you don’t know how to find out where someone works, you could waste a lot of time and even money trying to find out information that may be readily available as long as you know where to look.
Reasons to find out where someone works
In many cases, there are laws governing what information you can obtain about someone’s work history. For example, background checks for employment or apartment lease applicants must be conducted only with the subject’s consent. Often, they must also flow through official channels, such as the Department of Justice or an attorney general’s office.
You may be able to use less formal methods that tap into public records if your use case is permissible, your motive is sincere and you are not seeking this information in an unofficial or proscribed capacity. In most cases, this may get you much of the information you seek.
Some reasons why you may want to learn how to find where someone works include:
Chasing a missed connection
Let’s say you were standing in line at a coffee shop, hanging out at a bar or attending a book reading and you made a connection with another person. You may have gotten their name, but perhaps you didn’t get a chance to snag their number or any other personal information.
Looking up where they work can be a great way to reestablish this connection without stepping too far into the other person’s space.
Your motivations could be personal or professional. Perhaps you just want to be friends. But maybe you talked about something business-related and want to connect with them at their place of work. Either way, finding out where this person works may be a way to turn this brief interaction into something more meaningful.
Reconnect with a lost friend or relative
We all fall out of touch with people despite our best intentions. When we decide to reconnect, finding people can be a lot harder than we think.
Looking up where a person works might be easier than trying to find their address or phone number, and seeking them out at work might be less intrusive than calling or sending them a letter.
Learn about an online date
Online dating is a mainstream and popular way to meet new people and perhaps find that special someone.
However, as anyone who has dated online knows, there are a lot of unknowns. Learning about your date before meeting them is a good way to try and make sure they are who they say they are—and also get some conversation material.
Some people include what they do for work on their dating profiles, but others understandably won’t. In such cases, doing a quick search to try and find out where someone works may give you some nice background information to take into what is often an exciting yet stressful encounter.
Find out about a new friend
Networking is important for career success, and your network can extend to friends and acquaintances as well as business colleagues. If you have a new acquaintance but aren’t yet close with them, finding out where they work online could avoid a potentially awkward conversation.
Send invitations or surprise gifts
Throwing a party or work-related mixer and want to invite people you don’t know too well? Find out where they work and send their invitations there.
Similarly, you may want to send someone a holiday gift as a gesture of thanks for doing business together. You could ask them directly, but that might ruin the surprise.
Instead, do some research to find out where they work and send the gifts there. Putting in that extra effort could be seen as endearing and possibly make the gift that much more special.
Research for a school reunion
Reunions are a fun way to reconnect with people from your past and perhaps rekindle old relationships. But they can also be a bit awkward, especially if you haven’t seen your old classmates in a long time.
If you’re the organizer, consider doing some “class trivia” to break the ice—that could include an activity where people have to guess where other people work. Track down this information yourself to keep everything a surprise and make the game more fun.
Verify your own information
If you can find out where someone else works, other people can find out about you, too. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you want people to be able to contact you, consider searching for yourself to make sure all the information out there is correct.
In some cases, you may find your name is similar to someone else or some information is inaccurate. If you catch this, there are steps you can take to correct the errors, such as contacting the relevant database and letting them know something is wrong. Unless you do the search, you’ll never know what’s out there.
How to find out where someone works
If your reasons for wanting to find out where someone works are above-board and legitimate, here are some possible methods for searching for information:
Run a people search
Probably the most effective way to try and find where someone works is to use a people search service. These tools compile information across a number of different databases and can save you time and effort for a fee.
In fact, you may find out where someone is employed in just a few minutes, getting you the information you need and getting on with your day.
Another effective way to try and find out where someone works is to look for them on LinkedIn. Because this platform is designed to help people make and maintain professional connections, they often use their real name and also list their current employment information.
One downside to this method, though, is you often need to be in someone’s network to find out where they work. If you want to learn where they work without revealing yourself, this might not be the best method.
Look through other social media platforms
Other social media platforms might also lead you to a person’s place of work. However, to get this information isn’t guaranteed.
For example, while you might be able to find someone on Facebook, people don’t always list their work information on their profile. From there you might be able to find an Instagram handle or Twitter account or perhaps even a LinkedIn profile. From there, you might be able to track down where someone works.
This information is often available, but there are two main downsides to this method.
First, to get this information, you often need to be “friends” or follow someone. Second, not everyone makes their profiles discoverable, so you may not even be able to find them. They may use different versions of their name for security purposes. Lastly, because of all of these factors, using social media can be incredibly time-consuming.
If you don’t mind spending hours scouring through social media profiles, this might work for you. But there are many faster, more effective ways to find out where someone works.
Simple online search
Sometimes the simplest answer is the best. Instead of jumping through all these hoops, consider simply searching Google. Just type in the person’s name and a keyword such as “employment” or “job” and see what comes back.
You never know. This might lead you right to the information you seek, saving you lots of time and effort. On the other hand, if the person has a common name, you may have to sift through countless search results to find them.
Ask mutual friends/contacts
If the person you’re trying to find is a friend of a friend, why not tap into this connection? As long as your reason for reaching out isn’t shady, they should be willing to give you this information.
Hire a private investigator
One surefire way to find out where someone works is to hire a private investigator. A detective will do extensive research to find out where they work.
Any PI worth their salt will be able to do this, but you will pay for it. Rates vary, but expect to spend at least $500, and perhaps even as much as $1,000, for the service. Not many people really want to spend this kind of money, especially when there are cheaper methods available.
Plus, hiring a PI takes things to a new level. If you just want to find out where someone works for fun, going this route sends a different message. There may be nothing illegal about it, but one should only use this method if they feel they absolutely must, perhaps where safety of a loved one is involved, and even then, most people would not take kindly to such efforts and there’s always the possibility that they could learn that a PI was engaged.