Informational Interviews

By CRAIG KUNCE

Informational Interviews

Another helpful strategy to help find jobs is to find companies that you are interested in working for and call them and ask for an informational interview.

There will be several companies that are not currently hiring that you may want to visit to learn more about. These companies may have openings in the future, and you want to make sure that your name pops up when they think of hiring.

The Informational tour/interview may be initiated and arranged over the phone. To begin, call the company and simply state, “Hello, my name is _____________, I am a "your position/career field" and I am interested in learning more about your company and the work you do. I understand your company has a "your position/career field" department and I was wondering if I could meet with you and learn more?”

Make sure you are courteous and polite. If you are transferred to another person who handles the company tours, repeat what you said to the first person and go from there. Have a calendar and your schedule in front of you so you can immediately confirm and write down the meeting time, date, person to contact, and any additional details. Thank them and say that you are looking forward to meeting with them.

When the interview day arrives, be on time! Dress like you would for a job interview. Bring a folder, and pen and paper to take notes. Also, bring copies of your resume in case you are asked for it. Bring your portfolio as well, but leave it in the car. DO NOT ask if they want your resume or if they would like to see your portfolio. You may be perceived as someone who misrepresented your intentions in order to get a job interview. Most employers don't like this approach.

During the tour, find out as much as you can about the company. Do not ask for private information such as financial information, trade secrets, or projected employee layoffs. Ask them things that will help you decide if you want to work there, such as how many people they employ in your line of work, what would a person in your position do on a daily basis? And what types of experience, skills, or specialized abilities would help a person in your position?

Write down the names (and correct spellings) of those people you meet with—to send them thank you notes. If they ask you why you are writing down names, simply tell them you want to send thank you notes after the tour/interview. You can write a thank you letter or you can hand write a thank you card. Either one is acceptable. Personally, I prefer a hand written thank you note/card. It is more personal and meaningful. Be sure to send it the day after your interview or tour—no later, or earlier.

Be sure to send a thank you letter or note after the tour to those you spoke with. Include your resume and color samples page and state in the thank you letter that you would like to be considered a candidate for future graphic design openings with their company. Follow up with your contact every month or so to network and see if they have any openings. Again, this proactive approach impresses employers and gives you an advantage when they are deciding who to hire.

 

Wrap up

When you combine these four approaches you are greatly increasing your chances of finding potential job openings. Don’t be “that” job hunter who checks for jobs once each week, sends out a resume or two, and then waits another week to search again. This approach is ineffective and severely limits your job prospects. Not to mention it shows that you are lacking self-motivation and drive. Be the "other" job hunter who networks, cold-calls, browses the want ads, and goes on informational interviews—and lands the job they love.