How to Use an Informational Interview to Get Hired

There’s a lot of great job interview advice that’s available when you’re looking to get hired, but for those who are looking for a new job, sometimes the best advice isn’t conventional. One example of the less common advice involves looking into less common job interview techniques and options like the informational interview.

Unlike a traditional job interview, an informational interview doesn’t involve a follow up to your resume; an informational interview is far more proactive. Rather than waiting to hear back after you’ve applied for a position and then meeting with members of the Human Resources department, this job interview technique involves identifying the types of companies that you think you would like to work for and the positions that you want to explore and setting up appointments to talk with someone who can give you “the inside scoop.”

Why is looking into this type of interview so beneficial when you are looking for a new position? Here are just a few of the reasons:

* When you are able to sit down with someone who works in a position similar to the one you are looking for, you will be able to learn more about what the job is like – what happens during a typical day, what responsibilities fall on someone with that position, and how busy an average day is.

* By taking advantage of an informational interview, you’ll be able to learn more about how the individual got his or her job – what education, work experience, and interests helped to open the door.

* When you’re able to communicate with someone in a position that interests you, you’re able to learn more about them, about the team they work with, and about why they chose the company that they are working with rather than others in the area.

In other words, when you’re looking for job interview advice and your goal involves learning more about local businesses and the types of positions that interest you, you’ll find that taking the initiative and talking with someone in those roles is a great option. Not only will you be able to learn more about a given job and company, but also you’ll discover additional benefits. You’ll find that:

* If you’re comfortable, you can ask the interviewee to look over your resume or otherwise compare your qualifications to those needed for the position; if you’re looking to break into a new field, this will help you to determine which skills you need to further develop.

* You’re able to make a new contact – someone who may be able to help you later in your job search.

* You have the opportunity to show your interest in the company and the position and to let those on staff learn more about what you have to offer.

While all of those benefits can have a dramatic – and positive – impact on your job search, there’s one more reason to explore this job interview advice. When you look into informational interviews, you also have the opportunity to prepare for future interviews, to learn more about the vocabulary of a given position, and to make sure that you’re exploring options that will ensure that you’re on the right career path.

Copyright 2009, Cecile Peterkin. All rights reserved.

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