for informational interviewing and networking
In addition to these general questions, you should develop questions to fit your particular needs and level of experience.About their job:
- What do you do as a...?
- What do you like and dislike about your job?
- How do you spend your typical day?
- What kinds of problems do you deal with? What kinds of decisions do you make?
- What are typical entry-level jobs in this field?
- How did you get break into this field? How did you locate this particular job opening?
- What are the trends and hot issues in this field? What journals or Web sites do you regularly read to keep up with trends and developments in your field?
- What are the toughest challenges your organization faces?
- What is the "corporate climate" -- is it casual, busy, etc.?
- How does your job fit into the organization or department?
- Can someone with my background obtain a position in this field?
- Given my background, where do you see me fitting in or starting in this profession?
- How would you suggest that I break into this field?
- Can you suggest anyone else whom I could contact for additional information?
- In which professional associations do you participate? Can nonmembers attend meetings?
- If I wanted to apply for a job, whom should I contact in this organization?
You may be wondering, "At what point in the conversation do I ask for a job interview?" Networking is, to a large extent, a process of establishing relationships with people. If you hit it off with somebody in a networking meeting, and they know of possible openings, chances are they will offer to refer you to the person doing the hiring. But to ask directly for an interview would generally seem rude and inappropriate. A constructive approach would be to ask, "If I were to apply for a job with this organization, how would I go about doing it?,' "What are good organizations in this field?," "Is there someone there you might refer me to for an informational interview?"
There are other ways to uncover the "hidden" job openings:
- Ask your contact to suggest other people in the same profession whom you might also interview.
- Ask your networking contact for advice on breaking into the profession.
- If your contact has stated or implied that there are appropriate job openings at their organization, ask how you would go about applying for those positions.
- You may also ask if you could leave a copy of your resume with your networking contact. If you are uncomfortable doing this, enclose a copy with your thank you note.
This is not about hiding the fact that you're looking for a job and would like to know about job openings. Of course you're looking for a job -- you just don't want to put inappropriate pressure on your networking contacts by asking an interview.
print this page,
press the "Ctrl" key and "P."
(on a Mac, the Apple key and "P.")