If you’re contemplating a career change, but want to be sure whether or not the career or company will be right for you, you may want to consider one of the most powerful research tools: Information Interviews.
While many people may have heard the term before, most are not familiar with what exactly it entails. Quite simply, an “informational interview” is a type of interview process utilized to obtain information about an occupation under consideration. If you’re interested in a particular career path, then the best person to ask about it is someone doing the actual job!
Let’s consider what might happen, without conducting occupational research in this way. I had a client who wanted to leave the career she had been in for 15 years. She looked into becoming a dental hygienist, because it paid well, had good long-term prospects, and “sounded good”. However, she didn’t conduct information interviews to complete her research. After a year of training and all the relevant costs incurred, she landed her first job in the field. However, she only lasted a few months, after deciding she hated it! Why? Because she didn’t research the position thoroughly beforehand.
It’s important to note that the purpose of an Information Interview is not to request a job. The purpose is to obtain career information from knowledgeable professionals in the field, in order to make a sound career decision.
Benefits of Informational Interviews:
- They provide an opportunity to view the workplace, environment, and employees on the job.
- They provide an opportunity to obtain a greater depth of valuable career knowledge than is possible with other research methods.
- They allow you to gather up-to-date information on trends and shifts.
- They provide an opportunity to gain advice on required qualifications and future job prospects.
- They provide no-pressure interview skills and practice.
- They help to enlarge your circle of networking contacts.
Related to Informational Interviews:
- Mid-life crisis: changing careers mid-stream
- Researching potential employers
- Exaggerating Qualifications