Information Interviewing – Coda (Part 5/5)

Post Date: April 29th, 2015

Congratulations!  You’ve made it through the information interviewing process.  You’ve researched a new field, identified people from whom to glean a sense of reality about it, developed questions to reveal the answers you’re curious about, and conducted the interview itself.

As with regular job interviews, it’s nice (and appropriate) to follow up with a handwritten note of thanks.  Feel free to include what you found particularly helpful, and express appreciation for the contacts/leads they shared.

I’d encourage you to mark your calendar to follow up a month or two down the road to reconnect and share where you are with the process.  I’ve heard frustration from well sought after people that they spend time sharing, give guidance and counsel, and then they never hear from their interviewer again.  People do like to hear of the impact they made and the ROI.   Even if you choose not to pursue the field, you can share your appreciation and what the determining factors were for not pursuing that field.

If you do pursue the field, then staying in touch can be all the more important.  It’s always helpful to have a strong network you can tap into as you move forward.

On a final note, whenever I make a request of someone, I like to also ask if there is anything I can do for them.  Even if I don’t know what that might be, just an open invitation for them to tap into my knowledge and connections helps to ‘even the playing field’.

I’ve had numerous clients who have felt uncomfortable asking for help, or asking for an information interview because they felt they were being burdensome.  When I suggest that they also offer to be a resource to the person with whom they’ll interview, to reciprocate the favor, they often feel much more comfortable.  Furthermore, when I ask how they’d feel about being contacted for an information interview, they almost always reply with enthusiasm that they’d be happy to do so, because it feels good to help someone else, and share what they’ve learned.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

 

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Information Interviewing – The Interview (Part 4/5)

Post Date: April 16th, 2015

You’ve selected whom you’d like to interview, what you’d like to learn, contacted and emailed the interviewee your questions and resume, and scheduled the interview.  This week, let’s look at what will make this a successful interview.

First and foremost, be on time, or even 5 minutes early if you’re meeting in person.

Second, feel free to bring 2 print outs of the questions you’d like to ask – one for each of you.

During the interview, make sure that you ask the most important questions first, so that you don’t run out of time before you get to them.  Another approach is to ask if your interviewee would like to run through and answer the questions, or do more of a free-flow sharing.  I’ve tried both methods and they can both work well.  If the interviewee chooses the free-flow approach, keep an eye on the time to make sure that have them focus on your top 1-2 questions if they haven’t touched on them by that point.

At the 18 minute mark, start to wrap up.  Acknowledge that the 20 minutes you’ve requested are just about up, and if you have additional questions, you may request scheduling another time to talk.  If they decline, wrap things up quickly and thank them for sharing.  They may offer to continue the conversation a few more minutes.  If so, I recommend that you limit your questions to only 1 or 2 more to again be respectful of their time.

As you wrap up the interview, two great questions to ask are: Is there anyone else you think I should speak with?  And, is there anything else you think would be helpful for me to know?

Finally, if you feel like you’ve connected well, you might request if you can stay in touch with them to ask any follow up questions and/or share your progress.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

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Information Interviewing – Contacting Interviewees (Part 3/5)

Post Date: April 7th, 2015

Congratulations on identifying what you want to glean from the information interview and narrowing down your questions in order of priority to 6-10.  That can be tough to do!

This week I’ll share the formula for how to successfully contact the people we identified at the beginning of the month (or others we’ve identified since), to request an information interview.

First and foremost remember this is an *information* interview.  Unfortunately this type of interview has gotten a bad rap by those who pretend they are requesting an information interview, then try to turn it into a job interview.  While this can happen, please, let it be at the direction of the person you’re interviewing and not the other way around.

To request the information interview, simply call and tell your source that: 1. you are considering getting into their field; 2. are at the preliminary stage of researching it to see if would in fact be a good match for your skills and temperament; and 3. you would really appreciate schedule 20 or so minutes to talk with them either in person or via phone.  If they agree, set up a time right then and there.  Let them know that you’ll be sending them a confirming email, including your resume and the questions you’d like to ask.

Be clear that this is an information interview, and that the purpose of sending your resume is for them to understand your background: what might be your transferable strengths and what areas would they suggest you learn more about.

We all want to feel confident and prepared. By sending the questions in advance you help set them at ease and give them time to consider how they’d like to respond.

To your success,

Gwyneth Anne

408.246.7427

© 2007-2015 Personal Journey Coaching

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