Anchal has been playing with the idea of working as an iOS developer. With a degree in UI/UX design, she’s fresh out of college and ready to join the workforce.
She decides to reach out to her college senior—who’s working at Adobe. After setting up a meeting, Anchal decides to use this opportunity to express her interest in working for Adobe.
These types of interviews are called informational interviews. Informational interviews are a way to get your foot in the door. Think of them as your first tryst with the organization, its people and culture.
Find out more about how to prepare for an informational interview and use it to your advantage.
What Is An Informational Interview?
Informational interviews give you a chance to learn more about potential employers. You can always rely on corporate websites to find information. But meeting a current employee is like getting a glimpse into their world.
What you need to do is reach out to someone who can help you land a job in that organization. Whether it’s an alumnus or a friend of a friend, use your network to find that one person. Once you set up an informational interview, explain to them what you want, ask them about their roles and responsibilities and if they have any advice for you.
There are three key takeaways you need to keep in mind for your informational interview:
Impressing the interviewer with your knowledge, experience and skills
Getting important information about the organization—culture, people and work ethic
Clearly expressing your interest and motivation to join the organization
For a successful informational interview, you must treat it as a formal interview. You have to come prepared with questions, which shows that you respect the interviewer’s time. Let’s explore informational interview questions to help you get started.
Informational Interview Questions
Your primary goal for setting up an informational interview is to convey that you’re interested in working for them. For this, you have to know enough about the organization to build a case for yourself.
Once you’re confident in your knowledge, you can prepare a list of informational interview questions to ask the interviewer. Keep the questions direct, relevant and specific.
What does a day in your life as a [job role] look like?
Enquiring about the interviewer’s daily responsibilities will tell you about an employer’s expectations from their employees. Find out about status update meetings, how employees record their attendance and how communication flows between levels.
What is the organizational culture and structure?
Understanding an organization’s culture and structure are critical to figuring out whether you’d be a good fit. Some organizations follow a hierarchy—top-down approach—and others follow a flat or horizontal structure. Additionally, you can learn about the organization’s values, goals and expectations.
What are the types of problems you face in your role?
As a potential employee, you’ll be required to come up with creative solutions to specific problems. Getting an insight into how the organization approaches problem-solving will help you identify areas for improvement.
What kind of skills, educational background and abilities do I need for this role?
As current employees, the interviewer will have a clear idea about what the organization’s looking for—education, skills and experience. If you’re in the preparation stage, this can help you develop a sound strategy for your job application.
What should I focus on to be considered for the role?
Sometimes, an information overload can push us off track. So, it’s critical to know specifics about the field—or role—you’re interested in. You should try to learn what’s most important to the organization—people management, communication skills or even analytical abilities.
Always be prepared to ask questions that’ll help you get a step closer to your goal. Your informational interview is your chance to show them what you’ve got! Ask questions, but also be prepared to answer.
Informational Interview Examples
Let’s see how Anchal, our designer, introduces herself to her college senior:
Hi, my name is Anchal and I have recently graduated with a degree in UI/UX design. Thank you for taking the time to meet with me during a busy day. As a fresher, I hope I can ask you some questions about iOS development to understand my career path.
Anchal sets the pace for her interview, expressing her gratitude for the interviewer’s time. Following up with the informational interview questions discussed will help her achieve her goal.
Land The Job Of Your Dreams
The interview process can be nerve-wracking because there’s a lot riding on it. Instead of focusing on “what if I don’t get the job?”, try to focus on “what more can I learn about this job?”.
Learn more about how to land the job of your dreams with Harappa’s Ace The Interview course. It’s designed to help you give winning answers to different interview questions. Our self-paced, high-impact course includes example answers and activities so you can perfect your interview skills. Overcome nervousness and use every opportunity to your advantage!
Explore topics such as General HR Interview Questions, What are the Common Questions to Ask an Interviewer, How to Follow-Up After an Interview, Exit Interview Questions and Answers & How to Answer Panel Interview Questions from Harappa Diaries and crack your next interview.
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