Sage Advice about Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are an important part of the job search process, but many people shy away from them or feel uncomfortable reaching out.  Here are 4 good points to remember about informational interviews,  from Jennifer Vancil in her post “The Informational Interview: It’s Just About Having Coffee”.

  1. It sounds a lot like asking for a job interview and it certainly feels like a big thing to ask.  Asking for a meeting with someone you barely know (or don’t know), when you don’t know if a job exists, or whether you would be a good fit for an available position, is enough to send most job-seekers back to the online job boards to continue sending resumes into the void.
  2. An informational interview is not a sales call or an interview.  Bringing a resume to an informational interview is like bringing a wedding ring on a first date.  It puts too much pressure on that first meeting.The goal is to have a conversation that leads to finding a great job in a field you are excited about.   It’s simply “I’m interested in learning more about you and your company.  Would you be   willing to meet with me for 20 minutes?”  You don’t talk marriage before you’ve gotten to know each other and it’s the same in an informational interview.  You’re not at the commitment stage yet.
  3. You should be genuinely interested in the other person and the discussion should center on asking questions, not your needs and trying to “sell” yourself.Someone who asks good questions is considered engaging and interesting – just the kind of person they would like to work with.  Someone who is genuinely curious about them and open to advice would make a wonderful colleague.
  4. Often an informational interview will lead to a great referral and insider information about the company or upcoming projects or positions.  This is a great outcome of lowering the stakes and removing the pressure of a first meeting.