An informational interview is a networking tool where you contact employers to gather information about them; and get ideas about a certain industry or job. You want to establish if your skills and training match that of the potential employer; or if not, you can decide if you want to upgrade your skills. It is important to remember, an informational interview for a job is not a real interview. It’s an opportunity to learn something about the company while doing your job search.
The purpose of an informational interview allows you to obtain information about a specific career or job and make an informed career choice from your research. It offers you an opportunity to make a favourable impression on the prospective employer if you are prepared with specific questions. It could lead to a future position with the company in the future if you impress them. It also may lead to other prospects for your job search. If you impress the employer, and they do not have any positions available, they may pass your name on to other employers or offer names of other people for you to contact that may be looking for someone with your skills and training.
How To Conduct An Informational Interview:
- Set up an appointment-Call or write a letter to the employer and ask if you can meet with them. Tell them you will not take up much of their time (they are busy people!). Assure the employer you are not looking for a job, rather you are researching the company and potential jobs in the field.
- Plan Your Questions Ahead of Time-Being prepared is essential for the informational interview. Prepare questions that are relevant to the company, the job you are interest in, or the field of work. Write the questions down and take them with you to the informational interview. Remember to bring a pen for the answers!
- Ask About Other Opportunities-After you have asked all your questions, ask if there is anyone else you could speak to about opportunities, either in the company, with a sister company, or another company in the field. Make sure you write down the name and any other contact information that is relevant.
- Offer Your Resume-It is ok to offer your resume to the employer for future review or future potential jobs.
- Thank You-Remember to say thank you to the employer for their time. Do not go over the time you allotted to interview the employer. It often is a great gesture to send a thank you letter to the employer for offering their time to you.
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