Thursday, August 11, 2016

Remember "informational interviews"?

"I am hoping to get into health IT."
These used to be big last century. I just saw mention of them again on CareerBuilder in a story by Amy McDonnell.

Where the job interview is aimed at getting a job--the informational interview is aimed at gaining information on a company, culture, industry, or prospects.

You try to talk an executive into meeting with you face to face to talk about the industry and get acquainted.

For the job seeker, the informational interview helps you lean about the realities of the business and expands your network.

You also improve your interviewing skills and may even uncover an unknown future position.

You find out what is most important to the employer.

BUT--you have to first get the executive to talk to you.

--Identify potential contacts first. Scour the internet, watch your social media, read local papers.

--Reach out appropriately. The first step is an email or phone call explaining your background and what you hope to gain. Make the encounter limited--say 15 mins.

--And prepare like mad. Research the interviewee, read all staff bios on the website, review company literature and annual reports. And finally, set up Google news alerts on the company for the most up-to-date info.

--Be on time, be focused, ask good questions, and leave a great impression.

Sometimes this can turn into a real job offer--but don't count on it. Be relaxed--and the interviewer will be, too--after all he or she is not under the gun to give you a job, just some face time.

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