Informational interviewing can be an effective strategy for identifying and locating a new career opportunity. For one, informational interviewing is a form of networking which been proven to be the most effective method used in the job hunt. During an informational interview, you should be meeting one-on-one with your contact while communicating you professional background and your career goals. You should share your target company list with your networking contact as well as any target roles that interest you. But how do you make this meeting even more productive? There are four key points to keep in mind.
Ask for names of companies that hire people with your education and professional background
You should definitely share your target company list with your networking contact in hopes that they can refer key contacts within the organization to you. Also, by sharing this list you hope to jog your contact’s memory and have them share additional company names with you that you can follow up with.
Ask for names of recruiters that place candidates with backgrounds similar to yours
Recruiters can play an effective role in your job search. They have access to jobs that may not be advertised on the open market, i.e., on the online job boards. There is a strategy, however for working with recruiters. First, it is important that you select recruiters that have experience placing candidates with your educational and professional background. It is also prudent to select recruiters that place candidates in the geographical region that you are interested in. Better yet, it is helpful to work with recruiters that are based in the geographical region you are interested in because they are more likely to have stronger relationships with the companies in that market.
Ask for names of other individuals who may be able to help you
To keep your networking pipeline full, it is important to ask each and every networking contact you meet to share with you names of additional people that can provide you with career-related information. Information such as names of companies to add to your target list or names of decision makers that you should meet will be of value.
Ask for permission to follow up with your networking contact in a week
Follow up is key to networking. After meeting with you, your contact may have discovered new information that can benefit your job search. Following up after a week can give you access to this information and will keep your name top of mind. Also, follow up is just good networking etiquette.
Bonus question: Ask how you can help them
Networking is a two way street. There is a chance that you could actually help the people you meet, so why not ask? It is likely that you now people that could offer them assistance as well. Like the saying goes, “What goes around comes around.”