Informational Interviews That Lead to a Job


As part of our Executive Outlook Series, Ivy Exec created a definitive 4 step guide to breaking into the hidden job market through informational interviews.

Every day jobs are getting filled that were never posted or never reached a recruiter. They’re filled by insiders at the company or by people a manager already knows.

If you’re looking for a job, you can let this hidden job market discourage you. Or you can get known.

Informational interviews are the way to do that. Not those rambling, learn-about-a-new-field meetings that you think are a waste of time. Those usually are a waste of time. But that doesn’t mean you should dismiss the idea. Handled correctly, informational interviews can be the most important step in your job search.

The first step in the 4-part Informational Interview process is to get clear on the goal of the interview, and what you will achieve through it.

The 3 Goals of Informational Interviews

As outlined by the guide, informational interviews are a supercharged way to network. Think of them as highly directed meetings in which you and a manager define what needs to be done and line you up as the person to do it. That doesn’t sound quite so useless, does it?

The important thing to remember is that informational interviews aren’t job interviews and you should never ask outright for a job. In some cases, there won’t be a current opening that suits you. And you won’t be talking to a hiring manager, but the person who runs the department where you’d like to work. Another crucial difference: unlike traditional interviews in which a manager calls you in and sets the agenda, you’re in charge of this conversation.

However, the interview is used to position you as an asset that their company would benefit from employing. It is used to subtly unearth a labor gap or opportunity and to show how you can help the company.

You want to interview the manager with three goals in mind:

  1. To get an insider perspective of a company’s culture to make an informed decision about whether it’s a good fit for you.
  2. To make a powerful and lasting first impression by articulating your abilities in a way that complements the potential hiring manager’s needs.
  3. To get a potential manager to feel a sense of urgency about bringing someone like you on board by identifying a labor gap.

As with other forms of networking, your efforts most often won’t lead to immediate results. But if a position does open up, a successful interview will put you on the inside track. And you just may be able to prompt a manager to create a job for you.

Keep these goals in mind so you can frame how you handle the interview and set you up for the next 3 steps in the process which include: landing the meeting, making a powerful impression by defining the labor gap and showing your value, and successfully closing the loop to keep the ball rolling.

informational_interviewIf you are considering making a move but need an insider’s perspective, register with Ivy Exec to access our guide, Breaking into the Hidden Job Market – the Definitive Guide to Informational Interviews. This guide shares all the questions you need to ask in the interview, and how to discreetly sell yourself for a job. Access the Guide >

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