The “informational interview” is often one of the most disregarded tools when looking for work. In my upcoming book, Get Back to Work: Smart and Savvy Real-World Strategies to Make your Next Career Move, the fifth chapter – Hidden Job Market – shares information about tapping into this special market and, once you have done so, following up with scheduling an information interview – when you meet with someone at a company on your target “ me helping make company better” list to seek advice on your career, industry or the culture of the potential future workplace.
(Excerpt from book)
Set up an informational interview or what I like to call an “informational meeting”, as it creates less pressure. Try to meet company representatives at their office rather than a neutral meeting place like a coffee shop. Meeting them at their office provides you with the opportunity to check out the environment and people who work there. Also, the person you are meeting with may be able to introduce you to someone in the department that you are interested in working in. Remember the purpose of the informational meeting is to obtain information about the company, not to try to get a job. These types of meetings can also be beneficial if you are considering a new field of work.
Before attending such a meeting, ask yourself what you want to accomplish during and make sure you have your personal introduction ready. Write down questions you want to ask, such as the following:
- Does the company have a career development plan?
- How long have you worked here?
- If you had a choice, would you make the same career decision again?
- May I connect with you on LinkedIn and keep in contact?
- What attracted you to the company and position?
- What challenges do you face?
- What do you need to do to be successful?
- What does a typical day look like for you?
- What is your role at this company?
Don’t forget to thank the person for his or her time, follow up, and connect on LinkedIn if they are willing to do so. You want the person to remember you in the event an opportunity comes up in the future. Also, be sure to send the person a thank-you card. By making such connections, you can gain an advantage over your competition.
Please share any tips below that you have found to be helpful when you were, or are, looking for work.
For more information on my book, Get Back to Work: Smart and Savvy Real-World Strategies to Make Your Next Career Move, visit www.GetBacktoWork.biz.
Next week’s topic: Contingent Workforce