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Informational Interviews

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Why they are important and how to prepare for them.

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Informational Interviews

  1. 1. What is an Informational Interview?  An opportunity to meet with an industry professional with the objective of learning the industry in which they represent.  Keep in mind that an informational interview is NOT a job interview.
  2. 2. Why is it beneficial to conduct an Informational Interview? 1. To learn more about a career in your field of study. 2. Practice your interviewing skills. 3. Learn the career path of a professional already working in the field.
  3. 3. What would you learn/obtain?  The responsibilities of the position and a sense of what you would do on a daily basis.  How to pinpoint prospective employers & an understanding of what it's like to work for specific companies, firms, or individuals.
  4. 4. What would you learn/obtain?  How to expand your list of contacts by collecting names from interviewees.  Begin to develop a fluency for vocabulary and verbal etiquette in your prospective field.  Practice handling yourself in a professional context and discussing your own objectives.
  5. 5. Whom should I interview? Yo u sho uld inte rvie w industry pro fe ssio nals who se e xpe rie nce s willhe lp yo u m ake de cisio ns abo ut what yo u want to do with yo ur life . The re are two ways to g o abo ut finding inte rvie we e s… 1. TheConnections Approach:  Use your network of contacts to find interviewees.  Your network - friends, family, co-workers, alumni, instructors, and anyone else you know - might
  6. 6. Whom should I interview? 2. TheColdCall Approach:  The most successful method of contacting an interviewer is by phone!  If you call, write down what you plan to say ahead of time.  It is important that you don’t say or do anything that makes it sound as though you're trying to get the person to hire you.
  7. 7. How do I set up a meeting? 1. Introduce yourself 2. Explain that you're interested in the field in question, but you would like to learn more about it through someone like your potential interviewee, who has a lot of experience and insights. 3. Give a specific reason why you're interested in talking to the potential interviewee. You'll show you're serious and focused. 4. Ask if the person has time for a 10-15 minute meeting so you could learn more about the interviewees‘ work and thoughts about their career and industry.
  8. 8. Hello, My name is (name),I am currently a student at The Art Institutes International Minnesota studying (program) and plan to graduate in (month & year). Given the current economic situation I am doing initial research on the job market and what qualifications are necessary for employment in this industry. My (course name) class has assigned an Informational Interview assignment and therefore, I was wondering if you would you have the time to discuss with me your insights and experiences as a professional currently working in the field of (field of work)? Potential phone script:
  9. 9. Preparing foran interview?  Research the background of the interviewee and their company.  If you impress the interviewee with your preparation, he/she will be much more inclined to help you and take you seriously.  Make a list of questions.  Put your questions in order of priority so that if you run out of time, you will have addressed the most important issues.  It's inappropriate to ask personal questions – you should be having a professional exchange.
  10. 10. Interview Attire Checklist  Business Attire  WOMEN  Business Attire  MEN Suit Shirt and Tie Sports Jacket Slacks Trousers Skirted suit Dress or skirt with blazer Dress with matching jacket Simple dress Skirt and blouse Skirt and sweater Slacks and blouse or sweater Closed toed shoes
  11. 11. Appropriate vs. Inappropriate Interview Attire  Appropriate  Inappropriate
  12. 12. Appropriate vs. Inappropriate Interview Attire  Appropriate  Inappropriate
  13. 13. Conducting the Interview  Be considerate and appreciative of his or her time.  Interview should last no longer than you promised it would 10-15 minutes.  Begin by introducing yourself and stating the reason for the meeting.  Briefly explain your background so that they can put your questions/requests in an appropriate context.
  14. 14. Conducting the Interview  Have at least 5 questions prepared to ask the interviewee.  Ask your prepared questions, although they shouldn't keep you from asking relevant questions during the meeting.  At the end, ask for two or three names of others who might be helpful.  Be sure to ask if you can use his/her name when you contact the referrals.  End off the meeting with the door open for future contact and possibilities.
  15. 15. ?  What are some questions that you think you should asked during an informational interview?
  16. 16. Sample Questions  How did you get started in this business?  What do you like most about your job, your company, and your industry?  What would you say are the most current career opportunities for someone with my qualifications in the industry?  What are the basic requirements for an entry-level position in the industry?  What special knowledge, training, or experience did you have or need for this job?  Has the work changed recently due to technology, marketplace, competition, etc?  What advice would you give to someone looking for a job in the industry?  Is there anything else I should know about the industry?
  17. 17. How do I follow up after?  Always send a thank you note to the interviewee within 24 hours of the interview.  Mention specific aspects of the conversation that you found helpful, and acknowledge their generosity for taking time to meet with you.  Keep in touch with the interviewee after your conversation. If you get a job, let him or her know of your progress.  Be cautio us about asking whether or not to maintain a professional relationship.  If you are close to graduation, invite them to the Portfolio Show!
  18. 18. And……. Keep at it.  We know that it’s difficult to call people that you’ve never met, with the intention that you are looking for work.  The more calls you make, the better you will become, and the more comfortable you will be talking about yourself, what you have to offer and what you are looking for.
  19. 19. Questions?

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