An informational interview when conducted well can help you with vital information you will need that can help you excel as a job seeker or a businessman.
Key information about the requirements, responsibilities, duties of the role, about the company, and other crucial information can be elicited from an informational interview.
In this guide, I will be showing you the effective steps to take on how to ace an informational interview, it’s common questions and samples
What is an Informational Interview?
An informational interview is an opportunity for a potential job seeker to gather more information about a specific job, field, industry, or company through conversations with an individual who is currently working in the position or has information about the position.
How to Ace an Informational Interview
The below steps are proven to be effective. Follow them to get the best from the interview.
1: Research the company
Just like the key to a successful interview is somehow dependent on your knowledge about the company you are interviewing with, same applies to an informational interview. Before you can be able to ace an informational interview you need to have an adequate knowledge about the company you will be discussing about.
The first step to take when researching a company is by going through her official website.
In the About Us, Events, and Press Releases pages you will get valuable information about the company.
For more on the company’s press releases, visit Google New and type the name of the company in the search bar. You will get the company’s recent news.
You can also elicit valuable information like events, announcements, press releases, from the company’s official social media accounts too.
Once you are equipped with a reasonable amount of information about the company, the person you are conducting the informational interview with will be more open for discussion, since he or she feels you are really interested in his or her company.
Want to learn how to research a company like a pro? Check out – How to Research a Company (7 Actionable Steps)
2: Research the person you are interviewing
Your informational interview is likely to be within 15 – 30 minutes. And to get the best out of the little time you have, doing a research about the person you are interviewing will help create a strong connection between you both, since you have some knowledge about the person you can bring up during the conversation.
Review the person’s LinkedIn profile, and also bio in the company’s website if available, along with other information you can get by searching the person on Google. Try to pay close attention on some details like the person’s interests and hobbies that both of you share, past roles held and current role. This will help in creating a friendly conversation in the informational interview.
3: Dress perfectly
Even though it is not a real job interview, first impression still counts. Your dressing will speak a lot about you, and you wouldn’t want it to talk negative about you, especially when you are planning an interview with someone who may eventually be your teammate in the workplace.
So take your time to dress professionally when conducting an informational interview.
4: Appreciate the person at first
Before you proceed with all what you got in stock for the informational interview, appreciate the person for bringing out time to make for the interview.
Probably he or she might not be the first person you contacted for the interview, others couldn’t make out time for the meeting, and d even if he or she is the first person you contacted, expressing your gratitude at the beginning will show that you respect them for making out time for you.
5: Prepare key questions
The informational interview you are conducting is all about asking questions and receiving answers from the person you are interviewing, right? But how do you think you can get the most out of the questions and answers? It is by asking key questions.
There are a lot of generic questions to ask that you can easily get answers when you have done your research about the company and also about the individual you are interviewing, but they are some key questions that are crucial. Questions that you can’t easily get answers to online concerning the role, the company are what you should be asking in the interview.
Examples of key informational interview questions to ask include;
- How did you get your start and how did that lead you to where you are today?
- What is it like working here? Can you tell me about a typical day for you?
- Were you formally trained for this position?
- What is your next career step?
- What are the challenges you’ve faced in your position?
- What interested you the most about this job?
- What do you enjoy the least? Or, is there something that surprised you about the role when you first started?
- Do you think there’s a personality type that’s not well-suited for this kind of career?
- What do you wish you’d known when you were starting out in this career/role?
6: Ask for advice not a job
No matter how tempted you might be, remember that the informational interview is all about gaining vital knowledge about the role and career you choose. When you go as far as asking for a job in an informational interview, it will be a turnoff to the person you are interviewing.
What you should do rather is to seek advice. From the above questions to ask the person, you are sure to have some valuable knowledge about the role. And whenever opportunities come up regarding the role, from the information you’ve gotten so far your chances of landing the job would be much higher.
7: Follow up
Just like you would do to a hiring manager after an interview, follow up the person you conducted the informational interview with. Express your gratitude once again and also highlight some of the key talking points you both discussed and what you have learnt from the discussion.
After sending a thank you note, it shouldn’t end there, you should cultivate the habit of mailing the person once in a while when you come across valuable information that you feel can be beneficial to the person and wants to share with him or her, and also when you finally get a job.
Informational interview has proven to be one of the job hunting tips that can help you in landing a job. Once you are equipped with vital information from the interview, your performances at the real job interview will be outstanding.
That’s it on my guide on how to ace an informational interview.
I’d love to hear from you
Hope you found the guide helpful?
Have you conducted an informational interview before? What was the outcome?
Which steps would you try out when you want to conduct this type of interview?
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