An interview is a regularly used word in the life of a job seeker, in comparison to that the knowledge of ‘an informational interview’ is quite rare. An informational interview is a meeting of a job seeker with another individual to gather essential and relevant information about the industry in which the job is being sought. The job seeker at such an interview may or may not be employed and uses this interview to their advantage in the process of preparation for a real-time interview.
As they say, ‘knowledge is power’, this kind of interview is your chance to increase your knowledge about your industry as well as the company of interest. The most significant advantage of appearing for an interview such as this is that it gives you an opportunity to get an insight into the company and its ways of working; this offers immense help in the understanding of your compatibility of such an organisation. You can get an idea of whether or not you will be able to work according to the ethics of a particular company. This, however, you can do only when you are prepared with asking the right questions at the right time in the interview.
An informational interview is all about your doubts and queries getting cleared and answered, therefore make the best of the time by enquiring about the useful things. Your aim is to get as much information as you can about certain roles, the responsibilities that are entrusted to the one at the role, the experiences that were gained while working at that role, etc. By the end of the interview, you should have enough facts about a typical working day of an employee at the office as well as a special one, in which the employees have to interact with outsiders and the like.
So, what then are the ideal and vital questions that you cannot afford to miss asking at an informational interview?
What made you choose this career? – This will help you understand what makes one take up a profession such as this and identify whether you are on the right track or not. This is your way of assessing the career path.
What were the earlier roles that help you in performing efficiently at this role? – This will help you decipher whether you have all that it takes to function at such a position; moreover, you will get to know what other things you need to inculcate so that you acquire an efficiency such as the person opposite you at the interview.
What is a regular workday like? – This indeed is an extremely essential question that helps you sort out what exactly you are in for; the functions and responsibilities of an employee at the particular position will be clearly laid out in front of you. On getting an answer to this question, you will realise, having a ‘bookish knowledge’ about a particular role is much varied from getting first-hand information of the same. Clarifying to yourself whether this is the job you are looking for will also become easy once you make this interrogative statement.
What are the projects you are currently working on? – This is going to help further clear out the air of all that you should expect while employed at such a spot.
What excites you most about this job? – Of course, you would want to know what will keep you motivated in performing to the best of your abilities; hence, this question. Having information about the perks of a job is directly proportional to the dedication and optimal functioning of a worker.
What do not enjoy about his job? – while knowing the bright is important, knowing the dark side is equally important for you to decide, whether or not you would want a job like this.
What kind of person would excel at this job? – Merely knowing what type of job you are looking at is not sufficient, you also need to see if you fit into the role. Asking this question will help you comprehend how much of a match you are as a person for this job and how much you would need to learn to become a desirable employee at this role.
What are the biggest challenges of this job? – This would be further clarification of what are some of the things that you will be faced with while performing the functions of this role; also again you will be able to decide if you are up for taking up those challenges or not.
Where do you see in yourself in the next ten years? – This is a question that is often included at actual interviews; making an enquiry of this sort, enables you to see yourself ten years hence working at this position. Yet again you get assistance in understanding if this is the kind of career you are looking for or not.
If there is anything that you would want to go back and change what would it be? – People often learn from their mistakes; through this question that is what you would know so that it becomes easier for you to avoid making similar errors.
Do you recommend I should talk to some others about this role? – If so, who would you recommend I talk to? – You could be fortunate to be directed to others who will further help clear your doubts; alternatively, you could suggestions of what kind of books you should read or how you should prepare for the role.
Would it be okay if we stay in touch? – as you near the end of an informational interview, this is probably the most relevant question to ask, lest you require some more mentoring for the role you are looking at bagging.
One crucial factor to remember while appearing for an interview of this kind is that it is not as formal as an actual interview and therefore, you can, not be very guarded about your questions if you wish to. Make the best of this interview and muster more confidence for the real one by asking the above questions.
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