In the realm of job hunting and recruitment, informational interviews have emerged as a valuable tool that benefits both recruiters and candidates. In this article we explore the power of informational interviews and what opportunities they unlock for both recruiters and candidates.  These interviews go beyond the traditional format of assessing skills and qualifications. Instead, they serve as a platform for exchanging information, exploring career paths, and building networks. 

What is an Informational Interview?

An informational interview can be seen as a semi-formal conversation between a candidate or an existing employee and a professional in a particular industry or organisation. Unlike a formal job interview focused on securing a specific position, the primary goal of an informational interview is to gather insights.  On the part of a candidate this can be in the form of advice, and information about a career field, industry trends, or a specific organisation while . It also allows the employees to gain knowledge and develop a clearer understanding of their professional goals and aspirations.

Why Conduct an Informational Job Interview?

There are several reasons for conducting such an interview including:

Knowledge Gathering: For candidates, informational interviews provide a golden opportunity to gain first hand information about a particular industry or organisation. It allows them to explore various career paths, understand industry trends, and assess whether a specific job aligns with their skills and interests. By interacting with professionals in the field, candidates can obtain valuable insights that help them make informed career decisions.

Networking: Informational interviews enable both candidates and recruiters to expand their professional networks. Through these conversations, candidates can establish connections with industry experts and potential mentors, who can offer guidance, introduce them to relevant contacts, or even forge a connection which will unlock a potential career pathway in the future. Recruiters, on the other hand, can build relationships with talented individuals and create a talent pipeline for their organisation.

Benefits for Recruiters and Candidates:

Informational interviews hold benefits for both parties including.   Informational interviews provide recruiters with an opportunity to interact with candidates in a more relaxed and informative setting. 

This enables recruiters to identify promising talent early on and consider them for future job openings. It allows recruiters to gauge a candidate’s passion, motivation, and cultural fit, which are often overlooked in traditional interviews. They also play a key role in developing a strong talent-acquisition pipeline as candidates from past informational interviews can easily be sourced to fill new roles or even refer friends or colleagues for new positions.

Conducting informational interviews also greatly improves the ‘candidate-experience’, showcases an organisation’s commitment to talent development and building relationships within the industry all which do wonders form employer branding. By providing insights and guidance to candidates, recruiters can enhance the company’s reputation and attract top talent. This positive brand image can lead to increased applications and interest from potential candidates.

How to Prepare for and Conduct an Informational Job Interview:

  • Research: Before the interview, thoroughly research the industry, company, and the professional you will be speaking with. This background knowledge will enable you to ask thoughtful and relevant questions during the conversation.
  • Set Clear Objectives: Determine the information you seek to gather from the interview. Prepare a list of questions that will help you gain insights into the industry, career paths, or the organisation. This will ensure a productive conversation and demonstrate your interest and preparedness.
  • From a recruiter perspective this also applies, as you will need to set clear objectives with regards to exactly what information your organisation needs from candidates and what questions need to be asked.
  • Professionalism: Treat the informational interview with the same level of professionalism as a traditional job interview. Dress appropriately, arrive on time, and maintain a positive and engaging demeanour throughout the conversation.  For the recruiter the same applies, however, the recruiter needs to continuously be mindful of the fact that they are not conducting a formal interview and they fight against their natural tendency to formality and lean towards relaxed conversation.
  • Active Listening and Note-taking: Both parties should be actively listening to the other’s responses and take notes when necessary. This demonstrates attentiveness and helps you remember key details.
  • Follow-up: After the interview, send a thank-you note expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to learn from the interviewer. Maintain the connection by keeping them updated on your career progress or seeking further advice in the future.

Informational job interviews provide a unique opportunity for both recruiters and candidates to exchange valuable insights and build meaningful connections – something which the team at PM Connection are experts at.  Contact the team today and we’ll help make the connection to pave the way to your next interview.