One of the best ways to learn about a particular job is by gaining insight from the individuals working in that career field. Informational interviews offer you the opportunity to do just that. They are informative conversations you can have with someone working in an area of interest to you. They are not job interviews. However, you could ultimately end up meeting with the decision-maker, so you should always take the opportunity seriously and be prepared.
Setting up informational interviews is a great way to expand your network and potentially open up additional opportunities. It is also a great way to prepare job seekers for job interviews.
Now how do you make this happen?
#1: Do your homework.
Google the company, the individual, the business line, etc. Be curious and well informed. Research the company, the person’s role. You want to get to know what their day-to-day entails. After all, that may be your day-to-day someday.
#2: Use LinkedIn as a starting point.
Reaching out to request a meeting or chat about a person’s existing role can, at times, be intimidating. A referral or introduction is an excellent way to make those meetings happen while avoiding any potential awkwardness.
I always encourage people to use LinkedIn as a starting point. It is an excellent professional networking tool to target specific companies and individuals.
#3: Think through your network.
College job boards, your alumni association, colleagues, friends, and family can all be great resources available to you as you prepare to till the soil. Join local professional networking groups, attend conferences; face-to-face communication is critical and a great way to meet new people.
#4: Ask good questions.
The questions you should not ask in an informational interview are:
- Will you hire me?
- Can you help me get a job?
- Are there any job openings of which you know?
Here are some questions to ask:
- What made you decide to choose this career?
- What makes a person successful in this role?
- What would you say are the most challenging aspects?
- What is the most fulfilling?
- What advice would you give someone like me who is considering this career?
Whether you are a job seeker or someone who is still trying to figure things out, the key is to remain professional and confident. Always follow up and thank your interviewer. Your first impression could be a lasting one.
Marwa Zakharia is the CEO of AssetBook. She has extensive upper management experience, holding positions such as CEO, COO, VP, and providing guidance to companies in various industries as a business strategy consultant. Marwa has worked in the financial services industry and FinTech space for over 20 years, helping companies increase their market share and develop revenue growth processes. She is well-versed in human resources, operations, and overall strategic planning.
Marwa actively volunteers her time as an executive board member and volunteer to non-profit organizations whose causes she is passionate about supporting.
Connect with Marwa Zakharia on LinkedIn
AssetBook is hiring! We are looking for (1) a salaried W2 employee who will fill the open role of client service specialist and (2) a business development professional (base +) who can earn as much as they want (6 figures+ if motivated). Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.