An informational interview is a conversation which helps you gather in-depth information about a job or industry of your interest. You can conduct it with an employer or a professional who is already in the same industry as you want to step into. But it’s not as simple as it may sound.
An informational interview broadens your knowledge about a –
Specific industry or occupation
Job that you may be interested in
Your favorite company
In addition to all these, an informational interview can also help you get job leads or build influential professional contacts. Some of key people who you can conduct an informational interview with include a referral, a friend, a friend of a friend, or an alumnus. Even people who you are very close to can help you increase your knowledge about a job or industry.
Like with traditional interviews, advance preparation is required for information interviews as well. There are two important things that must know in terms of getting ready – questions to ask and etiquette to follow.
To get started with, you may ask questions like where a professional reached the position where they are today. Or, you may ask them about what it’s working like in their occupation or industry. You can also ask the person you have chosen to interview about career preparation for a particular industry. You can gather information about who you should further connect with in order to achieve your professional goals.
Apart from asking different types of questions to find out what you are looking for, you also need to follow some key etiquette. For example, you should dress professionally and be on time. Since you are the one who requested the informational interview, you should always remember to pay for the lunch or coffee that you too have together. Go by the formula of give-and-take in order to get the most out of your meetings.
You’re not asking for a job! In fact, you are conducting an informational interview to make your job search easier or collect information that can help you get the kind of job you are looking for. Therefore, once the meeting is over, you should be grateful and thank them for their time.
An informational interview won’t give you instant results. Have the patience to wait for the results while following up and keeping in touch with people you met with with. Since they know what you want, they might help you land a job in some way or the other.
Step out of your comfort zone now and start conducting informational interviews to achieve your job search goals.
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