Informational interviews are not a job interview—they are better! Learn how informational interviews provide you with insider insight and build your network as you look for your next opportunity.
- There is more to a job search than applying for every open position you find online. Get strategic and start using informational interviews to find the job that suits you best. This is not a job interview. In a lot of ways it's better. It's less stressful and provides you with insider insight. An informational interview is a meeting between two people. One person is working in a certain industry or field, and the other person is looking to learn more about the industry, field, career path, or employer.
I believe everyone can benefit from informational interviews. Whether you're an experienced individual wanting information on a specific company, someone who wants to explore a career change, or a recent grad who needs more information. Informational interviews will help you identify the best job targets that align with your interest and skills. The informational interview is different than a job interview, because the conversation is not about hiring for a specific position, and in this situation, you're the person asking questions about the industry, a career path, or a company.
At the same time, the professional learns about your character and ambitions. The informational interview is a non-threatening discussion as two people learn about each other, with no pressure to make a hiring decision. Remember when you have initiated the informational interview, the professional you are interviewing is doing you a favor by providing information. You need to conduct research in advance about the industry and the company. Use LinkedIn to learn more about the person you're going to meet with.
Prepare your questions in advance and be as specific as possible. Ask questions that allow the professional to talk about themselves, their experiences and career path, and they'll like you more. Also realize the average length of an informational interview is 15 minutes, so you want to make best use of that time. Follow proper interviewing etiquette, as if you were conducting a job interview. Dress professionally. When you ask a question, take time to write down notes.
And clarify anything you didn't understand. Finally, thank the professional at the end of your informational interview, but also send a letter stating your gratitude for their time. Then add this person to your professional network and stay in touch by writing notes or sending emails, letting them know how their suggestions have helped your job search. Remember, if the process goes extremely well, the informational interview can convert into a job interview, or referrals that result in job interviews.
The informational interview is a powerful process you can use to your advantage. With preparation, listening, and follow through, you'll experience the power of people helping people.
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- Compare an informational interview to a job interview.
- Identify companies and contacts to interview.
- Prepare for an interview, by researching questions and updating your résumé.
- Conduct an informational interview.
- Analyze the results from your interview.