Best of: Career Tips Tricks and Advice Columns

How to Set Up a Successful Informational Interview

November 13th, 2012

As one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, TX, Murray Resources has seen informational interviews work well for job seekers looking to enter a new industry or job function. A well-executed informational interview can provide job leads, opportunities for industry-related introductions, and a more focused search for candidates looking to break into a particular sector.

Below we’ve compiled a list of five crucial steps for conducting a successful informational interview:

1)      Target Your Search — Prepare a detailed list of intriguing industries and types of companies in which you would potentially want to work. Be sure to narrow your list to a few industries that are not only interesting to you, but also are practical for your abilities and an environment in which you could achieve success. From this list of industries and companies, compile a list of any personal contacts you might know in this sphere.

2)      Make Contact and Be Specific – After you’ve highlighted the people you know in your target industries and related companies, reach out to your contacts to set up an official appointment. It is extremely important that from the onset you convey to your potential interviewee that you are not looking for a job. Be specific in explaining the true purpose of your proposed informational interview- that you are looking for career advice and insights about that particular industry from someone who knows it well. Also, while it may be tempting to try and set up an informal meet-up to learn about an industry via casual conversation, this is a business interview and should be conducted as such. A professional atmosphere helps to ensure that both parties stay on topic, and you glean the specific information you’re looking for.

3)      Be Flexible – Remember, this contact is taking time out of their day to meet with you. Be flexible and understanding when it comes to working around their busy schedule. Someone who has agreed to participate in an informational interview has done so because they are passionate about their career and want to share their insights with an interested audience; the advice they have to offer is well worth the hoops you may have to jump through to accommodate them.

4)      Create An Agenda – Of all the steps, this is the one in which you get to showcase your professionalism as well as your creativity. When coming up with a list of questions for the interview, do some research on the industry/company of your informational interviewee. Thorough research gives you a foundation of knowledge from which you can create insightful and specific questions, and also shows your interviewee that you’re dedicated and committed to put in the time and effort to learn about their industry.

5)      Show Your Appreciation – After the meeting, make sure your interviewee knows just how appreciative you are of their time and insights that they shared with you. Send them a thank you email or handwritten note as soon as you get home expressing your gratitude for their willingness to take time out of their schedule to help you. It’s also a nice gesture to send them an update later on down the road if you end up acting upon a piece of advice they’ve given you, or landing a job in their industry. If they cared enough to meet with you, they likely want to hear about your progress and success!

Sticking to these five simple steps will ensure that you conduct a productive and successful informational interview. Armed with valuable knowledge about your career interests, staffing agencies in Houston, TX like Murray Resources can better help you take the next step of landing that dream job!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the staffing agencies in Houston, TX – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity. Contact Murray Resources today to get started.


What To Do When You Don’t Know the Answer to a Job Interviewer’s Question

October 30th, 2012

As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources understands that job interviews are stressful enough, even when you’re well prepared. But what happens when you’re asked a question that you’re not prepared for – and that you don’t know the answer to?

Rather than having a panic attack or making like a deer in headlights, there are some steps you can take to turn a negative into a positive:

Take a Deep Breath.

First, take a deep breath inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. It’s okay if you need to take a moment to get your thoughts together. Remember, just because you lack the right answer for a certain interview question doesn’t mean you’re not a great fit for the job.

Keep in mind, though, it’s important to not come across as nervous or anxious in these kinds of situations…even if you aren’t quite sure what to say right away.

Be Honest.

Don’t try to navigate your way through a topic that you have no knowledge of; you’ll come across as dishonest and ill-prepared. It’s much better to honestly admit you lack expertise in a certain area than to attempt to say what you think the interviewer wants to hear – especially when you don’t really know what you’re talking about.

Don’t Apologize.

That said, don’t take your admission too far. In other words, don’t apologize or make excuses for the fact that you lack knowledge or experience in a certain area. If you do, you’ll simply highlight your deficiency in the mind of the interviewer.

Appear Confident.

Simply state matter-of-factly that you haven’t had the opportunity to gain experience in a certain area, but that you’re eager to learn about it should you win the job. Even better, provide an example of a skill that you didn’t have before accepting your last job, but you were able to acquire through hard work and a willingness to learn.

If you can keep your composure in a job interview, even when you don’t know the answer, you’ll score big points with the interviewer. You’ll demonstrate that you can stay calm under pressure and think on your feet – two traits that are important for almost any job.

Need More Job Interview Help?

As a leading staffing agency in Houston, TX, Murray Resources can offer you additional guidance with crafting your resume, prepping for interviews, and finding job opportunities that are a great fit for you! Contact Murray Resources to get started.

How to Prepare For and Close Your Next Interview

October 9th, 2012

Day two of our “Murray Resources Best of: Career Tips, Tricks & Advice Columns” segment brings us to a part of the job search process that is often cited as the number one source of anxiety for potential candidates: the interview. We at Murray Resources, one of the leading staffing agencies in Houston, understand that anxiety, and we want to help.

Introvert, extrovert or anything in between, the prospect of a first impression potentially making or breaking a career path is nerve-wracking for just about any job applicant. But with practice and the right tools, you can learn to channel that nervous energy into a successful interview.

Our first article about interview tips focuses on arguably the two most important parts of an interview: the opening and closing impressions you imprint upon your potential employer. These tips on how to prepare for and close your next interview will help you to seal the deal!

Can’t wait until next Tuesday for more interviewing tips? Check out some of our previous posts on how to make the most of an interview!

Are you a talented professional looking for your next career move?

Turn to one of the top staffing agencies in Houston – Murray Resources – for help in exploring your next career opportunity.  Contact Murray Resources today to get started.


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