How You Should Handle Asking For A Job At Informational Interviews
Why would you ever want to ask for a job at an informational interview?
Chances are, the person you are meeting with isn’t the hiring manager for the position you are seeking. Even if they are, if you use an informational interview to ask for a job, you’re admitting deception about your intended purpose of the meeting. You didn’t tell the individual that you were trying to find the right way to ask them for a job ... you stated that you wanted to learn more about the company.
Yet, most candidates use informational interviews to ask for a job ...
Not only does this trash the candidates’ credibility, it also wastes a great opportunity to find out really useful information about the company. Here’s where you can discuss how the company is responding to competition, to industry opportunities/threats, what roadblocks the company is facing, and how these issues affect the department you are targeting.
You can find out about jobs from the company website or from HR - Why waste your meeting asking about jobs?
On the other hand, you can use an informational meeting to do more than just be an investigator - why not also learn how you can help the person you are meeting with? Why make it just you asking for favors, when you’ll find so much more help when you’ve first given help?
What kind of help can you give? Can you refer contacts that can help them in business, or potential candidates for their department? Can you refer clients ... even if the person you’re meeting with is not in sales, employees who generate business for their companies get recognized (or bonused in some companies).
Learn more about the other person’s interests. Charities are a great opportunity to help your contact - volunteering your help (or referring others who can help) to your contact’s pet charities is a big favor to them and a great potential bonding experience, in exchange for a few hours of your time.
By learning more about your contact and finding ways you can help, your conversation becomes one of mutual help ... and your contact should naturally want to learn what they can do to help you.
Then if you get to the golden moment where the person you’re meeting with asks you how they can help you ... would you ask them to pass along your resume?
Instead, ask the more powerful question - ask to be introduced to the manager of the department you want to work in.
Can you see how that’s more impactful than giving a paper resume, asking them to pass it to a hiring manager (translates to HR)?
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