The Reverse Job Interview

One effective way to get your career on track is to request an informational interview with companies you’re interested in working for. These “interviews in reverse” – where you ask the questions – are an older practice that’s still vital today, according to staffing firm Accountemps.

Call it the ultimate in being proactive: you research which companies you think would be a good fit, then you try to secure an informational interview.

Instead of waiting around for a job listing, or a recruiter’s call, you take the reins in hand, and find your dream job.

However, it’s not always easy to get one of these interviews. You have to be patient, and persistent.

But while the informational interview can be tough to get, it is get-able, according to a recent survey from Accountemps.

Accountemps talked to chief financial officers, and found that nearly one-third (31 percent) are receiving informational interview requests at least once a month.

Importantly, 84 percent of the executives surveyed said when someone impresses them in a meeting, it’s likely they will alert that person to job openings at the company.

Informational interview can really pay off.

Accountemps is offering these tips for mastering the process:

Pick the right person. Research a few companies or industries in which you are interested. Tools like LinkedIn can help you identify the right contacts to interview.

Don’t get discouraged. Landing an actual job interview could take time. But if the informational interview goes well, it could lead to referrals to other contacts or openings.

Be strategic about how you ask for an interview. Ask a common contact for an introduction or send an email or LinkedIn message to start a conversation. If you use the phone, practice what you’ll say if you reach the person or his or her voicemail.

Don’t turn it into a job interview. Let the person you are interviewing know about your career interests, but don’t oversell yourself. The purpose of this meeting is to glean information.

Come prepared. This is a business meeting, so dress appropriately. Unlike a job interview, the candidate or job seeker is running the meeting. Prepare a list of questions to ask in advance.

Remember to show gratitude. Always send a thank-you note after an interview and keep your new contact updated on your job search and career progress.”

The informational interview is a great way to show that you’re the type of professional that top companies want to work with.

After all, you’re someone who doesn’t just sit around waiting for opportunities to fall into your lap. You make things happen.

This is also a great way to screen the companies you’re interested in, and find out if they are truly right for your future plans.

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