When it comes to breaking into the hidden job market, informational interviews are your key to breaking in.
Simply put, an informational interview is a special type of networking meeting initiated and led by the potential job seeker—you. The person “interviewed” is a potential hiring manger in an industry, company or position that you are considering.
Remember, the goal of the informational interview is threefold:
- Get an insider perspective of a company’s culture to make an informed opinion on whether this is an is ideal for you
- Make a powerful and lasting first impression by articulating your abilities in a way that complements the potential hiring manager’s needs
- Get potential hiring managers excited and feel a sense of urgency about bringing someone like you on board
Last year, we shared this Informational Cheat Sheet to help you prepare for your interview.
In addition to the cheat sheet, here are 5 more questions to have answered before the interview, and 9 questions to ask the person you are interviewing.
5 Questions to Prepare for Your Meeting
Your preparation should aim at understanding as much as possible about the hiring manager’s company, department, role, team, projects and pain points.
Begin your research by finding answers to general questions about the company’s structure and business model. Use these questions as a guide:
- What are its products or services?
- What are its short- and long-term goals?
- Who are its customers?
- What is the client life cycle?
- How and how much do they pay?
9 Questions to Ask About Their Role and the Department
The Manager’s Role
- Who is his/her boss(s) and other internal clients?
- What are his/her job responsibilities?
- What are his/her biggest challenges?
- What milestones would lead to dramatic success for him or her?
The Rest of the Department’s Roles
- Who else/what other areas does desired boss manage?
- What are each team member’s job responsibilities?
- Does team have the right mix of skills?
- What are the biggest challenges in the group?
- What is the workload like?