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.

 

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