Have you ever been to an #INFORMATIONALinterview? In a nutshell, informational interview is an informal meeting that you as a potential job-seeker set up with someone who already works in an industry and/or role you are interested in. Ideally, that person would even work at a company or organization that you are considering to work for. ⠀
While it is not a job interview,
why bother having it?
Informational interviews give a lot of benefit not only to people who start their career, but also to those who want to break into a new role or industry, who are interested in a specific company´s culture. Also, to entrepreneurs who want to connect with other entrepreneurs. Such interviews not only help you connect with like-minded people, but most importantly can prevent from potential disappointments when upon a new start your initial expectations suddenly do not match the reality. Even your dream role at a wrong place can turn into a daily struggle! Therefore, I highly recommend to explore more about the company culture, work conditions and ways of working BEFORE you become part of a new team.⠀
How to schedule an informational interview?
Most common ways are the following:
Ask your friends and acquaintances if they know anyone who already is working in a certain industry, organization or business.
Visit events where other entrepreneurs or professionals of that field are attending. Go to open door days or career fairs.
Find profiles on LinkedIn or similar websites, and send a message. Don´t be shy, the worst thing that can happen is just no response.
How to not feel awkward during an informational interview?
I get it, meeting someone you probably see for the first time and talking about work without actually asking for any job can feel a bit unusual. If you catch yourself stressing out, remember that you are meeting another professional, who is a human just as you are, and who just like you have also been on career journeys. Also, here are some tips to make the best of your chat.
Informational interview is not a date. You meet to ask questions and listen, not to talk about yourself a lot. Be a good listener. Be yourself and don´t try to impress the interviewee by your own life and career stories.
Do your research in advance. Prepare your questions before the meeting and read what you can find online about the person you are meeting.
Value the time. Agree in advance how much time the meeting will last. It is both respectful and professional for you to be the first to notice when there are 5-10 minutes left until the end, and spend some last minutes to express your gratitude. If you need more, ask for a follow up.