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Informational Interviewing: A Smart Way to Find a New Job

Updated on May 21, 2012

What is Informational Interviewing?

Informational Interviewing is a fancy phrase for calling an employee or manager at a company and asking he/she if you can interview them in-person about their position and the company in general. This is sort of like networking in that you are connecting to others through similar interests. But this is also different from networking because it's much more hands-on by involving an actual interview.

Informational Interviewing is something that not a lot of people do, or even know about. It's a great way to obtain information about a job/career-path that you may be interested in because you would be talking to someone who is exactly where you want to be. Plus, I have heard about people who have gotten job offers this way. What happens is that they go to the company to interview the employee/manager. They ask questions, but they also do a little bit of personal marketing at the same time. Then, the employee or manager states that their is actually an opening at the company and that this person should apply because they would do great and meet the requirements. When they go to interview for the position, it goes really well and they also receive a positive recommendation from the employee/manager that they originally interviewed for information.

It's a win-win go to interview someone for information about a job/career that you're interested in and you wind up becoming an employee at the company, and they get to talk about themselves (who doesn't like talking about themselves?) and possibly get an employee referral bonus. You might not get a job offer, but what do you have to lose? Nothing really. If there is no job offer at least you obtained tons of valuable information about a job that hopefully you will one day have. More people should utilize this strategy. Hopefully, you will be one of them once you read the tips below!

Setting-up the Interview

Think about your dream job. Or the type of job that could get you to your dream job/career. Or maybe it's not a job in general, but a specific company that you want to work for. Once you have an idea of where you want to be someday (job and/or company), make a call. Contact the company (probably Human Services initially) and ask them to transfer you to someone who holds the position that you want. Or maybe you already did your homework and know the exact person that you need to speak to. Either way, contact that person. Let that person know that they are exactly where you want to be someday (flattering and praise never hurts), and you would love to sit down with them for about 30 minutes to ask them some questions about the job. You could even offer to buy them lunch. Hopefully, they will not say "no". Most people say "yes" because they like to talk about themselves and feel flattered. Set-up a date and time......let them know that there's no rush. The last thing you want to do is pressure them. Give thanks multiple times; they're taking time out of their busy day to help you out.

Once the interview is set-up, what should you ask?

Here are some great questions that you should ask:

1. What is your actual job title?

2. What are the functions and tasks performed for the job?

3. What are the skills used for the job?

4. What is the educational background and training required for the job?

5. Describe a typical day and identify the lifestyle factors satisfied by the job (i.e. work values, personal values, interests, etc.).

6. What are some ideas on how someone could break into the field?

7. Are any examinations or licensure needed for the job?

8. Do you know of any other professional working in the field that I could contact for more information?

9. What is the salary range?

10. What are this companies benefits?

11. Is there opportunity for advancement?

12. Is there anything else interesting that you would like to tell me?


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    • Bedbugabscond profile image

      Melody Trent 5 years ago from United States

      In the profession I will be in when I finish school this kind of interview is recommended. Often you can go in, as a student, and ask to learn a little about the profession and how it works there. They are usually happy to share with students, and at the same time, looking for go getters to hire later on.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is an interesting way to learn about the positionl, company and possibly getting hired. True, many love talking about themselves.