5 Questions to Ask During an Informational Interview

May 3, 2013

Career Advice

Questions to Ask during an Informational InterviewNow that you understand why you need to network and you know how to do it — read this post on how to find a career mentor for tips — we’re going to dive into the minute-by-minute logistics. Let’s say you’ve reached out to someone on LinkedIn and they’ve agreed to have lunch with you. They work at a company you’re dying to work for in the department that you’d like to work in. What do you do next? Question away! Here are a few intelligent inquiries that will get the ball rolling:

1. Tell me about how you landed your job at this company.
Let your connection begin by talking about himself. Not only is it a great conversation starter, but it can lead to further questions. Pay attention during his story, and jot down any questions that arise.

2. What do you love about your job? About this company?
While you’re lucky enough to be sitting in this person’s company, get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work there. It’s not always easy to get employee testimonials, and you have a great chance right now.

3. What advice do you have for someone who’d like to break into this company? Into this industry?
Be prepared for the worst. You might hear that it’s “impossible” to get hired at this company or that the industry is “really tough.” Don’t get depressed, but do step away with concrete knowledge. Maybe that company isn’t hiring anyone. At all. Anytime soon. Step away knowing that you’ve saved yourself some time. Now you won’t have to fill out an application for that company.

4. How can someone stand out from the crowd during the application process?
Ask about this specific company and about the industry in general. Ask if they’ll take a look at your resume and cover letter and give you pointers. Most likely, this person will be pretty in-tune with what the company is looking for during the interview process.

5. Would you be willing to pass along the name of someone else who might talk with me?
This is the most important question. Informational interviews can lead to a string of new connections. You never know who someone else knows — and that person might know of a job opening! Keep reaching out to new people and sparking conversations even if they feel repetitive. Your same questions will lead to different answers. And growing your network will never hurt your career.

Image by Chiceaux Lynch.

About Spectrum Brands Careers

Spectrum Brands is a global $5 Billion Consumer Products company headquartered in Middleton, Wisconsin. While you may not be familiar with the Spectrum Brands name, there is no doubt you will recognize some of our brands.

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