In the current career landscape of our new economy, job hunting is far different than it has ever been before. The rules are changing, and only the individuals who are willing to grow and evolve along with that landscape can find the results that they are looking for. One particular change in the way we seek jobs is the growing popularity of the informational interview.
An informational interview is a valuable opportunity to learn more about a prospective company and the profession. Preparing questions to ask the interviewee is crucial in making the most out of the encounter. This is a time for the job seeker to ask for advice rather than employment. So how can you use this tool to increase your chances of having a better career? If you do not know how to interview someone, then these interview tips and questions can help you get prepared:
- How did you get started in this industry?
This question will immediately set the tone for the interview. This will let the interviewee know up front, that you are here to learn, not to beg for a job. Be sincere in your quest for knowledge, and ensure that the interviewee knows how much you want to learn more about the company and more about them individually.
- Is there some type of training or qualification that you wish to have had before starting out in this field?
To be one step ahead of the rest, know specific training and development opportunities beforehand. The answer to this question can make all the difference in the future. Jot down important information that the interviewee shares with you. Remember that this information is real-world advice that can possibly help you land your next job, so pay attention.
- What is the culture like at this company?
If you are seriously wanting to be employed by the company you are interviewing at, pay special attention to any information concerning the company’s culture. Once you have an idea about the corporate culture, you can determine if your personality or work style is a good fit or not.
- What is your biggest challenge in this role?
Understanding the challenges of a job is just as important as understanding its benefits. All jobs will have a fair share of rough patches—learn from other people’s experiences. Be sure that you are willing to accept both ups and downs before seriously pursuing the job.
- What is the most effective way to get my foot in the door?
Don’t let the interview end without having a solid understanding of what you need to do next. If you want results, use the meeting as a stepping stone for better opportunities and a tool for continuous improvement.
- If there’s somebody else I should talk to, who do you have in mind?
Contacts are important during a job search. Remember that every person you speak to is someone who knows other professionals. Take advantage of this trail of resources! Even if your current interviewee won’t be able to help you any further, he or she might know someone else who could paint a different picture and give a more comprehensive advice. Tap all these contacts and hear their thoughts.