As the job market tightens, skilled candidates are once again in high demand — and back in the decision-making seat.
Use this as an opportunity to find the best job match for you. A resourceful way to do this? Informational interviews. A riff on the traditional job interview, these meetings put you in the interrogator position—allowing you to get real insight into a role, company, industry and more. We share 5 reasons informational interviews are key to your job search strategy, and how to best approach the process.
Connect with People Doing the Work
Once you know the industry, role or career you’re interested in exploring, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professional network, friends, family or acquaintances to find an appropriate contact. Using a warm connection often makes this task easier, but LinkedIn or general company searches can also yield favorable results. The goal is to engage someone who has actual professional knowledge in the field or position, so you can gather thoughtful intel you couldn’t learn from a simple Google inquiry.
Interview without the Pressure
Oftentimes, the stress of a formal job interview prevents candidates from asking the important questions to help them understand if a career opportunity is right for them. For informational meetings, you have complete control and can steer the conversation to cover the topics most relevant to you. Touching on areas like salary, benefits and other pertinent queries considered taboo during the initial job interview are fair game.
Build New Relationships
People can sense when someone is being disingenuous. Go into this process with the intention of learning — and that’s it. A real job interview may come down the road, but focus on the information exploration. Make sure to continue nurturing your new connection beyond the initial conversation, as it’s always beneficial to grow your professional network.
Develop Your Interview Skills
View these meetings as an opportunity to sharpen your interviewing skills. It’s important to remain professional and go into the informational interview prepared and considerate of the other person’s time. Know the name of the person you’re speaking with, as well as some basic information about their title and job history. It’s also good practice to have a road map of the questions and topics you’d like to cover to help guide the conversation and the get the most from the experience.
Ask the Right Questions
Part of your interview prep should always include research — and this is no different. Be thoughtful of the type of questions you want answered. Try to go beyond what can be found online, such as detailed descriptions of the individual’s day-to-day duties, career path and ask for any advice or tips they can share. You can be as specific or as broad as you’d like, since this is your informational interview. Keep a detailed account or notes on file, so you can build an outline and refer to it as you continue your job search.
Are you open to new career opportunities? Connect with one of our seasoned recruiters!