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Informational interviews are important. When someone accepts your request for an informational interview, they’re giving you their valuable time. So be prepared for how to get the most out of an informational interview!
Related: How to ask for an informational interview and what to do when you get one
But WHY should you do an informational interview? After all, it’s not even a real interview for a job.
If you think informational interviews are just a waste of time, hopefully I can convince you otherwise. You should be thinking about how to get the most out of an informational interview!
How to get the most out of an informational interview with 5 benefits
The real reason and the most valuable reason in how to get the most out of an informational interview is to build relationships. The most productive and valuable thing you can do when trying to get a job is to have a network and connections.
When I was job searching, networking gave me 50% of the interviews I got!
Related: How to network and who to network with
The number one reason why you have a difficult time getting a job is because you don’t have experience. Because you don’t have experience, when you apply to jobs, your resume is being automatically disqualified by an automated tracking system (ATS).
Every job posting gets hundreds of job applicants. Hiring managers and HR cannot sift through all of these resumes manually. So they use an ATS. If your resume does not meet the minimum qualifications, you are automatically weeded out by the ATS before a human even sees your resume.
To get your resume seen and get yourself noticed, you need to network. You need referrals. You need to connect to the hiring manager somehow. This is where your professional networking relationships come in.
Be in the mindset of how to get the most out of an informational interview and that it is not about a one-time conversation and then you never see or chat with that person again. The goal is to build a professional relationship.
Valuable insights about the job and company
An informational interview with someone is an opportunity to get valuable insights about the job or the company that you cannot find out online with a simple google search. This is the second benefit you can get in your journey of how to get the most out of an informational interview.
You may think you know what the role of a job would be like through your internet research, but here is an opportunity to find out about the actual realities of the job. Find out what the negative aspects of the job are. Think about some very detailed nitty gritty questions to ask that you are curious about.
Find out about the company culture and if they have a toxic work environment or a place where employees enjoy working. Company culture is information that is not readily available online. These are valuable insights for you to determine if this is a place you want to work at.
Related: 3 signs you’re applying for a toxic job
You can also find out valuable job and company insights that you could include in your resume and cover letter that would set you apart from every applicant. Find out what qualities are desirable for the position and include it.
Find out about the hiring manager if it’s possible. Find out if this person would be a good boss and manager. There is no point in working so hard to get a job if you’re going to be hating your life everyday because of a horrible boss.
Get valuable advice
How to get the most out of an informational interview? Get valuable advice! Here’s your opportunity to ask for advice on how to get into the field. Not only can they give you tips on how you can get a job, but they can give you tips on how to get the specific job that you want!
Ask about their experience and how they got their position. If they are new to the job and only recently got their position, this is even better. This means they can give you relevant advice and advice that worked for them that’s not outdated.
How to get the most out of an informational interview with interview practice!
Informational interviews give you interview practice with less stress. The stakes are not as high as this is not an official interview. If you mess up an informational interview, you are not losing out on a job.
If you’re a person who does not perform well in a high stress environment or in social situations, informational interviews can offer you a lot of practice. And the more you do something, the better you’ll get at it!
When I was job hunting, I made it appoint to chat with 5 people a week for an informational interview. At first it was awkward, and I hated it. But after a while, I got used to it and I didn’t mind it as much. It developed my social skills, which is a very valuable transferable skill to have in your career!
Find out about possible career paths in your future
This is a little proactive. But having foresight and planning never hurt anyone. What better way for how to get the most out of an informational interview than future planning! Ask them about what their possible next career steps would be. This gives you an indication of the possibilities in your future and what your career path could look like.
You will probably find out about possible career paths you didn’t even know about.
So these are 5 things you can gain when thinking about how to get the most out of an informational interview!