Informational interviews can be one of the best ways to learn more about a company. Time set aside for this type of interview enables you to ask a greater quantity and more personal questions before your actual interview. It is your chance to learn about the company and the industry from a contact. It is not the time to sell yourself, or ask for a job offer. However, it is important to keep in mind that this first impression is still very important if you decide to pursue a position with the same company.
During this type of interview, it is appropriate to ask about the person's career path, career decisions, his or her daily responsibilities, the outlook of the company, industry, etc. Keep in mind that not all of these questions are appropriate in a first round interview. As we stated before, it is important to have done your research and appear well versed on the company and industry. Click here for a sample of questions you might use in an informational interview.
A few tips on informational interviewing:
- Set the interview up yourself – take the initiative.
- Decide on a time and place that is convenient to the person you are interviewing.
- Don't take up more than 30 minutes of this person's time unless he/she offers.
- Taking someone to lunch, coffee or a break is a good idea.
- Use your networking profiles and provide them with a few extra copies in case they may want to pass them along (hint, hint).
- Always send a thank you, thanking them for their time and helpful information.