One of the best ways to find out about an industry, company, or specific position is to meet and talk with people in careers you are considering. No one else can give you better insights to the opportunities and challenges in the industry and within a company
The idea of “informational interviews” was conceived by Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the career bestseller, What Color is Your Parachute. He comments that most people select a career without ever having talked with people in the industry prior to interviewing for a job. The result is that many do not find a great match for their passions, values, interests, and skills.
The informational interview should be a very purposeful and well thought out information gathering session with the goal of learning and gaining a networking contact. The session should be face to face. Do NOT ask for or a job in this interview.
7 reasons to initiate informational interviews:
1. Gather information from knowledgeable and experienced industry experts on careers and specific roles
2. Discover the realities of working in the industry and company
3. Evaluate whether your skills, personality, lifestyle, and values are aligned
4. Ask for suggestions and feedback on what additional skills, knowledge, or experiences you need to acquire to be more valuable to this company or industry
5. Gain in-person interview experience and develop more confidence
6. Expand your network of contacts for future opportunities and get referrals
7. Get access to the hidden job market as over 70% of quality jobs are gained through networking