|What is an informational interview?
Informational interviews are an informal opportunity to collect information about a career that interests you. By talking to someone else who’s already in the know, you have the potential to gain insider information about a company, industry, specific job role and/or career path.
Switching the tables, and becoming the one asking the questions, is a skill that takes time to master, but it can help you with reducing interview stress and building confidence. Being able to conduct an informational interview can become one of the most efficient tools in your job hunt, so here are some tips to help you master it!
1. Don’t let fear control you.
Connecting with strangers can be daunting, but you can take baby steps. If you don’t feel comfortable messaging people on social media and Linked In, ask your family, friends and neighbours if they know anyone in their own network they could refer you to. You know what they say, 70% of success in life is just showing up! So… get out there and try!
2. Keep it short, keep it sweet.
Ask for 20 minutes of their time. You want to create a professional work connection and gain insight, so 20 minutes should be plenty of time to make a good impression and gather the precious advice you seek.
3. Research and prepare.
Think of 10-15 questions that you want to ask, then have a look at the company’s website or google information about the profession and see if you can find answers that satisfy you. Doing research will help you create and identify the best questions to ask.
4. Dress to impress.
It’s true, you are not interviewing for a job, but you want to be remembered for your smart, professional approach, not for the comfortable hoodie and flashy runners you put on in a rush.
This is potentially the most important! The hardest part is over, now you just need to follow-up to cement the connection for the future. Remember, this person has taken time to talk with you, a thank you note shows that you are grateful and it may even be the difference between recommending you for a job… or not!