Why Information Interviews Work-Research + Networking = Success in Finding a Job
Do you struggle networking? See how information interviews can open doors to new businesses & careers and help you make valuable job search contacts.
Have you ever wondered what an information interview is, or how you might use one?
Information interviews are meetings with businesses, people or organizations where YOU interview THEM. It differs from a regular interview in that you are in control, and you are the one asking questions. You are doing research and so it is a great way to learn about a new industry, a new career or job, or even what a “______” does in their daily routine.
So here’s an example…say you’ve been thinking of starting up a new business in a health practice for some time now, but you just aren’t sure about it all. You can contact a health practitioner and ask to meet with them for 15-20 minutes to learn more about what they do.
Why would someone give you the time of day?
Here are some reasons why:
People love to talk about what they do (think about the Christmas party you attended – what was one of the first questions a stranger asked you – What do you do?)
People like to help others, especially if they can give you advice
People like to share their passions and recognize that information interviews are a great way to make contacts and expand their own networks
How do you get started?
1. Identify who you would like to speak with and get their contact information. Yellow pages, the internet, social media such as LinkedIn or Facebook, business directories (at the library) and your network are all good places to start.
2. Make a list of questions that you would like to ask the person. Examples are:
o How did you get into this line of work?
o What is the forecast for this industry and your particular job?
o What are the challenges you’ve faced?
o What do you love/hate about having your own company?
o How do you find new clients?
3. Call the contact and arrange a meeting.
4. Arrive 5 minutes early for the meeting and treat it professionally. Dress appropriately, be prepared with your list of questions, and ask permission to take notes.
5. Thank your contact for the meeting and ask if they know anyone else you might reach out to (build that network!).
6. Be respectful of their time; sometimes information meetings will be going so well, you’ll want to stay for longer than initially agreed on. Make sure you check in with who you are meeting with… “Oops, we’ve hit 15 minutes. I’d love to keep talking, but let me know ….”
7. Follow up: very key – send a thank you card. Yes, a real card! Not an email. It is much too easy to hit “delete” on your email. However a card will often remain on someone’s desk for weeks and provides a reminder of your meeting. Include your business card if you have one, and at a designated time check in with your new network contact again.
Good luck and enjoy the benefits of information interviewing!!