So you’ve found your dream company. You’ve spent hours reading their website, blogs, and social media outlets. You want a job at this company so badly that you’ve even had dreams about working there!
As you scroll through their list of job openings, you realize that you don’t have the experience level they are asking for or the jobs that are posted aren’t even in your field. Now what?
Don’t lose hope just yet, dear job hunter! All of your options are not lost. You can still get an ‘in’ at this company, score some networking contacts and enhance your career, all with one phone call!
Informational interviews are a great tool for executive job seekers. They let you find out more about companies or fields you are interested in, and best of all, you develop a relationship with one of their employees—-which can really come in handy once you apply for a job there!
Where to look for Informational Interviews?
To start off, you first have to score an informational interview, which is a lot easier than you might expect. Scour the company’s website and LinkedIn page to find the current professional working there in your field. Email them and ask to speak or meet with them to find out about how they got started in their field and to see what advice they can offer an executive job seeker like you. Then, you’re in!
Informational interviews are pretty easy to acquire because people love talking about their jobs! Plus, working professionals remember (all too fondly) what it was like to be in your shoes, and they want to help you!
Once you set up a time to talk, do some background research. Check out their LinkedIn profile and Twitter—-this way you can see some of their interests and see what topics they have been engaging in.
Questions for Informational Interviews
Before the interview, prepare some questions. You’ll most likely be asking most of the questions, since you’ll be interviewing them, and you want to ask some good ones, like:
- How did you get started working in this field?
- What is a typical day like for you?
- How do you see this field transforming in the next year?
- What advice can you offer a job seeker looking to get into this field?
- Keep a pen and paper nearby to write down their answers and jot down other questions to ask as the conversation progresses.
Thank-you works a treat
After you’re done with the interview, email them within 24-48 hours, following up and saying “thank you” to them for taking time out of their work day to help you. Let them know that you will be in contact in the future with more questions as your job hunt progresses, and ask if they have any other contacts that might be able to share some insights with you on the field. If they pass some along, contact them about having an informational interview with them.
I have been conducting informational interviews for weeks now, and my interviewing skills have gotten a lot better since the beginning of the year. Plus, I’ve expanded my networking contacts faster than I ever thought possible!