What is an Informational Interview?
It’s a job seeker interviewing for information. It’s not about getting a job, rather learning more about a career, company, industry or person explains Peter Decaprio.
Informational Interviewing is Top of Mind
People are always surprised when I tell them that talking to people is one of the most important things they can do if they won’t work in my field. I actually get annoyed when people ask me what classes they should take or how they should write their resumes. The answer is always the same: talk to people! Don’t just talk to your friends and family either… talks to professionals who have the type of jobs you would like. You will be amazed by how many opportunities come your way once you start asking questions of potential employers. Informational interviews aren’t just for students looking for internships these days – more and more employees are using informational interviewing as a way to stay relevant in their current industries.
The Benefits of Informational Interviewing for Employers
Informational interviews can be very beneficial for companies as well. Students typically only want to work for the big name an organization, which means that all those smaller ones aren’t getting visibility from fresh talent. Once you start reaching out and talking to people, they will tell their friends and colleagues at other companies. There is no better referral than someone who was already willing to talk to you candidly about what it’s like working at their company.
Here are five ways YOU Can Use Informational Interviews:
1) Network –
Setting up informational interviewing can help your network grow quickly! It doesn’t take long before the people you talk to will mention your name to someone they know at another company.
2) Job Search –
The people you speak with will be able to tell you about the company and industry in ways that aren’t listed on their site or in job postings. It’s a great way to uncover hidden opportunities.
3) Personal Branding –
Potential employers want more information about your personality and character than what can be gleaned from a resume, an interview or even a social media presence explains Peter Decaprio. Informational interviewing allows them to get a sense of whom they would be working with beyond a list of qualifications from the other end of the computer screen.
4) Proficiency –
You will be able to think on your feet and speak confidently about yourself and your abilities when you can talk about them with real people. The more you practice; the better off you will be in an interview situation!
5) Satisfaction –
The most fulfilling aspect of informational interviewing is that it is 100% under your control. You decide who to contact, how often to meet with them and what information you would like from each conversation. There are no wrong answers as long as you are being genuine.
What should I say in the email to make them want to meet with me?
If you can’t think of anything, here’s an example: “Hello Ms. Smith, I’m a senior at [University Name] and am very interested in what it takes to be a successful [job title]. Do you have a few minutes sometime this week that would work for a phone call or in-person meeting? If so, please let me know what time is convenient for you.” You can also include your resume if you’d like.
Who do I ask for when I call once they agree to meet with me?
You can ask their assistant, but most people will come get you themselves. It isn’t rude to walk up and start a conversation with someone you’re meeting for the first time. Don’t act shy!
How long is the average informational interview?
This will vary widely depending on who you are talking to and how much information they have to share. Thirty minutes is a good starting point though, just in case it goes longer than that! You can also ask if they need a specific piece of information from you before the call. Sometimes people just want a copy of your resume up front – other times they have a list of ten questions ready to go. Be flexible and open-minded!
As you can see, informational interviewing is pretty great for everyone involved! If you aren’t sure how to make it happen or why it’s important, hopefully this article has helped says Peter Decaprio. If not, feel free to use the comment section below – I’m happy to help in any way that I can!