An informational interview is really a "fact-finding mission" to gain insight into an industry or a particular job or organization. This is not an interview for a job. Here are some possible questions to ask in an informational interview situation:
If you have questions about establishing networking contacts or how to network, make an appointment to meet with a Career Counselor in the Office of Career Development by calling the office at 802.654.2547.
Given the rising costs of recruiting new employees, telephone interviews are an easy and relatively inexpensive way for employers to screen potential candidates for employment. However, they are difficult for the interviewee to handle since there is no face-to-face contact with the recruiter. Here are some tips on how to handle a telephone interview.
If your interview has been scheduled:
- Be at the phone number you have given to the recruiter at the given time. DO NOT be late for a phone interview! A recruiter may not call back, and you may have lost any opportunity you had to interview.
- Insure that your surroundings are quiet and free from distractions. Make sure your roommates are aware that you are interviewing, and this is important to you. Close your door and turn off music, your computer (especially instant messaging, social networking, etc.) and anything else that may cause you not to be focused. If you feel that your room will not provide a quiet environment, contact the Office of Career Development to see if we can provide you with a quiet space for your interview, and then contact the recruiter with the new phone number.
- A phone interview is a “real” interview, and should be treated as such. You can be screened out of the recruiting process by not doing well.
- Do your homework – research the company as thoroughly as you would for a face-to- face interview. Be aware that the first question could be, “Tell me all you know about our company and why you want to work for us.”
- Make notes about what you want the interviewer to know about you (skills, experience, etc.).
- Keep your resumé and cover letter, and any other research materials near the phone. The recruiter most likely has these documents in front of her/him, and you may need to refer to them.
- When you are applying for any type of position (part-time, full time, internships, graduate school, etc.), always make sure to answer your phone in a professional manner. Insure that your voicemail is professional as well. If it’s not, recruiters may not leave a message or follow up with you in the future.
- Ignore any “call waiting” – never put your interviewer on hold.
- Don’t use a cell phone or portable phone if you can secure a land line. If you wander away from the phone source or leave a “cell” , the conversation may be interrupted by static or a poor connection or may be dropped altogether. If the batteries die during your conversation, you may not have the phone number of the recruiter to call back on another line.
- Refer to the interviewer as “Mr.” or “Ms.” – do not use a first name unless the interviewer invites you do otherwise.
- SMILE – this comes across in your voice, and makes you sound interested in the company and the position.
- Speak directly into the telephone. Do not smoke, chew gum, or eat or drink anything during the interview as this can be transmitted across the phone line. In addition, any extraneous noises will carry as well – tapping a pencil, moving your chair, etc.
- You could be on a speaker phone during the interview. In some cases, you may know that there are one or more people listening on the other end, and in some cases, you may not. Be aware that there also may be multiple people asking questions. Take notes to clarify who is asking what question, so that you can follow up appropriately.
- Silences do not necessarily need to be filled. Sometimes recruiters use silence to get an interviewee to continue speaking.
- Get dressed as if for a face-to-face interview. This will put you in the mindset that this is an important piece of your job search. Sitting in your bathrobe with your feet on your desk will lessen the importance of what you are doing.
- Take notes during the interview. This is helpful for developing follow up questions.
- Have questions prepared about the company and/or the position to ask at the end of the interview if there is time allowed. This makes you sound interested in working for them.
- Make sure to thank your interviewer at the end of the interview. Verify her/his name and address if you are unsure of it, and write a thank you note immediately.
On occasion, a telephone interview can come as a surprise in response to a resumé you may have mailed to a recruiter. If this happens:
- Sound positive and friendly. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax.
- Always leave a copy of your resumé near the phone or carry one with you - as well as any other recruiting materials - just in case you are surprised by a call from a potential employer.
- Follow the steps above.