As a person looking for a job or doing research to find out more about a new career, informational interviews are great places to start learning.
According to Wikipedia, an informational interview is a meeting in which potential job seekers seek advice on their career, the industry, and the corporate culture of a potential future work place. An informational interview is not a job interview; it is a meeting where a job seeker is given the opportunity to learn about a specific job from a person who is working in that field.
It is an excellent source of information about an occupation and career opportunities.
The benefits of an informational interview include job seekers:
- gain information about an industry or a specialized field
- find out about jobs and career paths
- are given tips about a job, how and when to apply and even the name of best person to speak with
- learn about the culture and information of a specific company
- can ask questions for feedback about skills and education that are beneficial
A great benefit of an informational interview is that they are not job interviews, so they are less stressful. An employee can casually discuss the daily activities of a job and learn more about an industry.
Arranging an informational interview may be tricky if you are new to the industry. A couple of great sources to professionals in an industry are LinkedIn, as well as Google. Asking for a referral from friends, family, alumni or a past instructor are also great ways to expand your network.
People are busy so don’t be upset if a person doesn’t have time to speak to you. It is a numbers game so arrange for several informational interviews to get the face time you are seeking.
As the person looking for the inside edge on a company or job, be organized and prepared for the meeting.
Here are a few tips to conduct a professional Informational Interview:
- Be prompt and keep the conversation brief – 15 – 30 minutes
- Dress as you would in a job interview
- Research the person as well as company you are meeting with
- Arrive with questions and a pen and paper to make notes
- Always be polite and thank the person you are meeting with
At an informational interview, job seekers learn about qualifications and skills required to know if they are heading down the right career path.
Here are a few sample questions to ask:
- Tell me about your daily activities?
- Tell me about your career journey and how it has led to your current position?
- What are a couple of tips that you would offer someone starting their career?
- What education or classes are most valuable in your job?
- What opportunities are there for advancement?
- What are the most important skills for a successful employee to have?
- What are the typical salaries and benefits in this industry?
- How often does your firm hire?
- Is there anyone else you think would be a good person to meet?
Informational interviews are a great source of information so that you can up your game.
Now that you have this, we wish you success!