Yes, Informational Interviews Do Work! Here’s How.
It can be frustrating to have had countless informational interviews, only to have nothing come of them. You wonder, if they never lead to anything, then what is the point other than for a company to sell itself to you? Do not give up hope, however. While it may take some patience and practice on how to work them to your advantage, these interviews do have the potential to reap success. If you have met nothing but dead ends so far, this post may be of help to you, as we will take a look at some steps you can take to make informational interviews potentially more worthwhile for you.
1. Collect information.
Depending on the format and pace of the interview, taking thorough notes may be less than ideal. You may miss more than you gain if you try to type or write down what is said as it is said as fast as you can. However, if it is a phone interview, take advantage of its “faceless” feel and write some notes. The most important and valuable thing you can do, though, is listen and to listen carefully. Give your interviewer your undivided attention and then reflect more closely on what was said later. Then, return to your notes and write some of the main points you learned from the interview. Ask yourself a few reflection questions as a guide: How do you think the conversation went? Did your interview give you any further instruction? Is there anybody else you should contact? What do you feel that you should do to make a further impression, if anything?
2. Be a partner rather than a competitor.
People tend to think of interviews as a major round in a contest in which many compete (in this case, job applicants) but only one or two walk away with the prize (the job). While this may be true to some extent, it is important to remember that interviews are more than an opportunity to sell yourself as the best; they also allow you to show what you can bring to the table and how that will help the company. Therefore, the next time you interview, try to approach the “competition” with an awareness of your judge rather than your competitors.
3. Ask good questions.
Good questions can benefit you greatly! Think of some before even going into the interview, and try to ask about questions that address a range of issues: the company itself, how it has been working to fulfill its mission over the year, how current trends in the field are benefitting the company, what you can expect as an employee, what is expected of you as an employee—the list goes on! By showing a range of interest, you not only present yourself as a driven, well-informed, and inquisitive candidate, you also help propel the conversation forward, making it a lot more dynamic and useful rather than awkward and sparse. Also, be sure to be proactive. Ask what you can do to help, what resources you can provide to help the company continue to flourish. Again, your goal is not just to sell yourself; it is to prove that you are a candidate with something to offer and are willing to offer it.
4. Monitor your mindset! Is it productive to your work?
As with anything else, always be sure to go into every interview with a positive attitude. Do not project insecurity or a need to “stand your ground.” Instead, go into ever situation willing to show that you want to give every task your all and that you have something to contribute. Believe it yourself as well! Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in doing that you may forget that what it is that you do is actually worthwhile. You have to approach every job with some air of purpose. After all, if you don’t, how will it affect your output?
5. Follow up.
Following up in an appropriate amount of time is useful, if not essential, if you want to show that you are interested in pursuing the company. If you can, find out when a good time to follow up may be and then mark that day on your calendar. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable in the process.
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Do your informational interview skills pass the test? Do you need some assistance in improving your informational interview persona? If so, contact a Career Counselor with Lexacount Search’s Career Consulting Services. If you are interested in learning more about finance and accounting industry opportunities, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Finance Group. Or, if you are interested in attorney or other roles in the legal industry, contact a Search Consultant from Lexacount Search’s Legal Group.