Why Information Interviews are Vital to Your Career
In today’s job market where precarious employment is increasingly common (especially for young people and recent grads), information interviews are becoming more popular as a way for people to get their foot in the door.
An information interview is a meeting where you the job seeker interviews a professional working in an industry you hope to break into, in order to find out more about their career, the industry, and the corporate culture of a particular workplace. It’s a great way to make professional connections and build relationships with people in the industry who may end up opening doors for you in the future. At the very least, if you make the effort to nurture the relationship and maintain the connection, they can become your eyes and ears, letting you know of job opportunities as they come up.
Here are 6 reasons why doing regular information interviews will be beneficial to your career:
1) You get to gather first-hand information about the fields you’re interested in, which will enable you to make more informed career decisions
2) The information you get allows you to determine if the career matches your skill-set, needs, and interests.
3) You get to ask questions and gain an insider’s perspective on aspects of the industry that are not talked about often e.g. how to break into the field, realistic salary offerings, work conditions, industry culture, advancement opportunities etc..
4) It’s a great way to meet valuable industry contacts. If you leave a good impression, your name may later be passed along to someone who’s in the position to hire for an open position. As you continue building your network, you’ll be making connections with people who may be able to help you in the future.
5) You get to practice your communications skills and gain confidence for future job interviews.
6) You get to gather information that will help you write more effective cover letters and resumes.
While information interviews are more informal, you want to leave a good impression on the person you’re meeting with because there’s always a chance they’re judging your professional potential and fit for their corporate culture. The interview gives the industry professional an opportunity to learn about you, your qualifications, and the skills and experience you bring to the table. Many companies like to build their candidate pool for future hires, so it actually works in your favor by putting you on their radar.
As a general rule though, information interviews should never be used to market yourself in order to get a job. You’re there for information only. And because you’re there for information only, you can relax and enjoy the conversation.