Meeting with employers and people from industry can help you to make career decisions and may lead to a job, so it's important to prepare well for meetings.
Information interviews are a great way to explore the requirements of jobs before you make decisions about your career. You may be meeting with an employer about future job opportunities or interviewing someone who works in a similar job to the one that you are thinking about.
Information interviews help you to:
Use the steps below as a guide to help you set up an information interview.
Be clear what the interview is about and what you would like to get out of it. You may want to:
Start by making a list of occupations and industries you wish to explore. You can use myfuture to research occupations and find out about the duties, personal requirements and education pathways.
You can also research industries to find information about industries and their related occupations. Your research will help you develop a set of specific questions to ask during information interviews.
If you don't have a particular employer in mind, research companies or organisations that offer the types of jobs you are interested in. Use job search websites like Seek or MyCareer to find them. The relevant industry associations may also be able to put you in touch with people or organisations that will be available to meet with you. You can also ask your family, friends, former or current work colleagues or other people you know if they have any contacts.
People you can talk to include:
When you call, make it clear that you are not looking for a job but requesting information on occupations and career paths in the industry. Explain where you are from and why you are contacting them. You can start with:
Once you have made contact you can:
Be patient. You may experience a few knock-backs before you secure an interview. Go to Phoning an employer for advice about making initial contact with employers. If you are considering a change of industry or work, the Rethinking your career section has information about exploring your options.
Once you have made an appointment you need to prepare questions. Organise your questions under categories like:
Use open-ended questions. These are questions that require more than a 'yes' or 'no' answer. For example:
The same rules apply for information interviews as for job interviews.
So, write out your questions so you can refer to them during the interview.
Dress and speak as if this were a real job interview and take a business card or copy of your resume that you can leave with the employer. Before you go in, make sue you have turned off your mobile phone.
Be on time for the interview and stick to your agreed timeframe (ideally around 20 minutes).
You can show you are keen by listening and paying attention. This is not a job interview, but the information you uncover could lead to one. At the end of the interview, finish on a positive note and thank them again for their time.
It is good practice to send a thankyou email after the interview has taken place. Try to do this the same day as the interview. The employer has invested time in you and will appreciate some feedback about whether the information was useful for your career development. This demonstrates your commitment to the job-seeking process and can improve your networking.
After the interview:
Use your notes and reflection to plan your next information interview.