Let’s stop using the term “informational interview”.
That phrase sends the wrong message. Worse yet, it’s only job seekers who ask for them! In fact, let’s re-design the typical process of obtaining this type of meeting.
So let’s do this: If you are serious about your career, stop asking people for an informational interview. It’s great to network. But let’s re-design the process and position your request differently! This should yield better results.
How Do Employed People Do It?
If you were employed, would you email a complete stranger and ask to learn more about their company? I really don’t think so.
It’s not as if these information-gathering meetings don’t occur, they do! But the meetings are just that- meetings, coffee, get-togethers, chats. They are informal conversations to learn and share mutually beneficial information!
And it starts by having something in common.
Warm Up To People Before Asking for a Meeting
I get it! You are in a hurry to find your next job, but please slow down and build the relationship before asking for a meeting. Find a point of commonality. It could be you both went to the same college or maybe you share a common interest. It is your responsibility to find and use that commonality to begin building the relationship.
The pay off? I think you’ll be much more likely to get the meeting when you ask for it if you’ve established your relationship in a non-threatening/needy way online first. Not only that, during the meeting, you are much more likely to get valuable information.
Think about it. If you didn’t know me, and I asked how your company was doing, would you give me the inside scoop or would you just give me the corporate line?!
If You Hear These Responses, You’re Doing It Wrong
If you ask for a meeting and someone says any of these things, you have probably failed to build a foundation for the relationship:
- You should really be talking to HR…
- We don’t have any openings right now…
- I’m not the right person to talk to…
- I’m too busy to meet with you…
How To Get The Meeting
Expanding your connections and building relationships happens over time. If you are looking for ways to do both, you’ll have to have a long-term mindset and you’ll have to have a clear and sincere message!
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!
About the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!