Why Not Try an Informational Interview?

Allison Green suggests a different approach to interviewing during these difficult economic times. What is an informational interview you ask? Informational interviews are done when you are looking to gain more insight and knowledge into a specific field or job you are interested in. It’s also a great way to find someone that may be willing to mentor and help you expand your network of people. It’s not used as a sneaky way to get a job.

You typically get an informational interview through someone that is connected to you in some way, even if it’s a few degrees of separation (your uncle’s former coworker or so forth), but sometimes you can even get them from strangers via LinkedIn or your alumni network.

Once you have the interview set up, you want to make a great impression, so look over these helpful hints below:

  1. Come prepared with relevant questions. The person you are interviewing is probably busy so don’t waste their time by showing up unprepared. Make their time count.
  1. Sometimes you won’t get a person to person interview, but they are willing to talk via email or phone. Be ready with equally great questions.
  1. Ask them if there are any other people they could recommend that would be willing to do informational interviews. Maybe the first person you interview cannot help, but they may have contacts that can help you.
  1. Do not ask if they are hiring. (You should have already investigated public job opportunities on their website if available.) If they think you may be a possible candidate, they will let you know if there are positions open or may even take your resume.
  1. Lastly, send a thank-you note afterwards. This person gave you something of value: his or her time and insights. You want to make it clear that you did not take it for granted.