Informational interviews help to get vital information about an employer as long as you know what questions to ask. So, here is what you need to know.
Instead of researching an employer you want to work for on the web, why not try using an informational interview. An informational interview can get you all the information you need about an organisation, so you can decide whether you want to work for them or not. This type of interview also allows you to learn more about the industry you want to work in and as such prepare for your job search.
An informational interview is not a job interview, but it offers you the opportunity to meet employers face to face, and it’s usually an excellent way to improve your career prospects. Here’s how to make the most of it.
1. Go Prepared
If you show up unprepared, you will be giving out the wrong impression to your potential employers. Instead of treating this like a casual meeting, prepare as if you are going to an actual job interview. Since looks are everything, make sure that you dress formally, and have prepared a list of questions you want to ask the interviewers. Also, just like you would for a normal interview, make sure that you are on time and do some research on the employer beforehand.
2. Ask the Right Questions
Informational interviews are provided so that you can get what you want from a company. Since this represents an interest in working with the employer, you want to make sure you get the kind of information you need from the meeting. Before you are ready to meet the team, prepare some good questions to ask them that can help you get to know more about this company and how they work. Some clever questions should have something to do with the industry the company is in or regarding the job search. Here are a few ideas:
- What is the most rewarding or challenging thing when working in this industry/company?
- How would you describe your best employee?
- What makes a jobseeker productive?
- What advice would you give me on how to prepare for interviews?
- What kind of skills do you look for in candidates?
3. Be Positive
There is no point in asking for an informational interview if you are not going to – at least pretend to – be happy about it. The whole point of having an interview like this is to get the most information from interviewers regarding the company, so if you show that you are not interested in what they have to say, don’t bother going there in the first place. But, if you are serious about it, the best way you can win them over and get another interview, is to be as friendly and positive as possible.
4. Ask for a Favor
If you want to make the most of your informational interview, towards the end of the meeting, you can ask employers to do a small favor for you. Before you are ready to go, thank them for the time they have given you and ask them if they can recommend you two or three people who would be good to talk to so that you can work on your networking.
Instead of asking them this question directly and as such giving the impression that you want to take advantage of their kindness, explain why you want to get to know more people and how this could help you in your career. You can tie this well in with your interest in getting a job or getting more information about how to get into the field.
If you have been offered an informational interview, this is your chance to learn everything there is to know about the company, the field they are in and get advice on how to succeed in your job search from the industry insiders.
Have you ever been to an informational interview? Did you find it useful or not? Let me know in the comments section below…