Informational Interviewing

September 15, 2014

in Career Direction, Interviewing, Job Search, Meeting Reports, Networking

Putting the “power into your own hands” of the job search is what Craig Henry of Texas Workforce Solutions conveyed Monday at the weekly Austin Job Seekers meeting.

With 75% of jobs being found via networking, Henry spoke about how to use Informational Interviews to gain access to more career opportunities.

The following activities can help you open more doors during your search.

Research the companies. Find out all you can about what they do, what they provide, who their customers are and what career paths may exist. Understand their needs, so that you can provide yourself as their solution. Focus on “What’s in it for the employer,” Henry said.

Update resume so that it not only sells YOU in the top 1/3 of the page, but have multiple versions ready for different areas of opportunity like Operations, HR, Sales and IT.

Initiate relationships with someone in your career field. Reach out to former co-workers or LinkedIn contacts. LinkedIn is a very powerful online tool. Reach out to not only your specific career field colleagues, but expand the network via your church, community, family and local Chamber of Commerce.

Identify the target companies you are interested in and discover who there can help. Is it a hiring manager? Or an existing employee, who might be able to refer you to the right person?

Create a marketing plan. Identify 5 target companies utilizing search engine tools such as Google, Dun & Bradstreet, Hoovers, Yahoo and the Austin Business Journal.

Make the appointment. Contact internal decision makers such as people in Operations, HR or business development. Use the research you’ve conducted and lead initial conversation with information you’ve ascertained. Ask to get on their calendar. A minimum of 15 minutes face to face can be invaluable.

Dress for success. Find out about corporate culture and dress code, but always “dress up” Present your best self by being professional.

Be prepared. You’ve done your research, now build a list of questions. Make them open-ended and allow the interviewee to answer, giving them freedom to talk about themselves, projects they’re working on and company plans, etc. Examples include, “how did you start your career?” or “what does a good day here look like?” Critical questions also include “Can you suggest other people I may talk with?” and always ask for permission to use their name and whether or not they’re aware of any developments creating a need for hire.

Follow-up. After your initial phone conversation, follow up with a confirmation email about the appointment. Always a good idea to also confirm the day before. Then, after your interview, send a “thank you” email the same day and a handwritten note within 2 days.

These tips and more can be found at:

Craig Henry is a Business Services Representative for the Texas Workforce Solutions in Round Rock, TX

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