How to reply when someone asks for an informational interview

You may have read articles about asking for an informational interview. I want to talk to you about the other side – what happens if you are asked for an informational interview.

First, let me tell you what an informational interview is not

An informational interview is not and should not be a request to be hired. While a job seeker is anxious to get hired, the purpose of this kind of interview isn’t to get the job. This is not an opportunity to hand off a resume, though that could happen at the end.

The informational interview is not a job interview.

This is also not a time to give all the dirt on a company. While giving someone a clear view of the company may mean pointing out both positives and negatives, it shouldn’t be trash-talking your company either.

So, you just said, “Whew, I am so glad that I am not supposed to get this guy hired!”

Yes, you are not supposed to be the hiring agent.

What is the purpose then of an informational interview?

The informational interview is a meeting to learn about the real-life experience of someone working in a field or company that interests you.

The job seeker, if properly coached, knows this but may still struggle with how an informational interview works.

When you help a job seeker by giving them an informational interview, focus on helping. The goal is to help the job seeker better understand your company and the field you are in to see if it fits their interests and personality.

What are the major benefits of informational interviews?

  • Get firsthand, relevant information about working within a particular field, industry, or position.
  • Find out about career paths unknown to the job seeker.
  • Get tips about how to prepare for or enter a given career.
  • Learn what it is like to work at a specific company.
  • Gain insider information to better target the company.
  • Initiate a professional relationship and expand your network.

We talk about networking and how to reach people who can help you in your job search throughout the Design Resumes process. In our interactive sessions, you and I discuss the issues you are facing and how to win your next role.

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How to reply when someone asks for an informational interview

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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