Networking by doing Informational Interviews

Networking is good for making money, and it is a key skill of the business world. One of the best ways to meet new people, and others who have a higher status than us is to do an informational interview. You can network by doing informational interviews, which will lead to increased opportunities. Here we will give some tips on how to set up and your conduct during the informational interview.

Networking is a chance to meet other people, and if they like you, they may open up their networks of other persons to you. An informational interview is definitely not the same as a job interview, and the biggest taboo is to ask your contact for a job. Remember, you are not trying to get a job, but you are putting yourself out there to be available to that person and vice versa. These relationships take time, and if you ask for a job immediately, you will burn bridges. Perhaps you want to enter a new field, or find clients in a new industry. Having an industry contact will help establish you and your business in that sector. If you’ve ever looked at your insurance salesman’s business card, chances are it will say something like, “the best compliment you can give me is to tell your friends and family about me.” These convey the intent of informational interviews, to an extent.

Getting your foot in the door

The best way to get into a person’s office for informational interviews is to find a referral. If you need an accountant, for example, call your friend up who are friends with several accountants. If he is willing to introduce you, that is the best situation. Otherwise, you can call up the person and use your friend’s name. Say something like “John Doe told me about you, and suggested I talk to you about your [business]. I was hoping to enter your field. Would you be willing to meet over lunch or coffee?” One of the reasons you offer lunch is to reward them with a token of appreciation, as well as to entice them to meet with you. If they agree, you should block out that slot on your calendar and make sure to show up on time.

Questions to ask

You need to prepare a list of relevant questions to entering your contact’s industry. The list of questions should be personally relevant to you, so you can connect better with your interviewee. Ask things about their likes and dislikes of the job. What are the perks and what are the cons? What is the best way to enter his or her field? If you have a service and want to start selling in the interviewee’s industry, ask questions about needs of current professionals in that field. Can your business meet a need of that person’s industry? You may also ask more lifestyle questions, such as what is a typical workday like? What is the future of this person’s line of work, and is there room for newcomers? Use your gut feelings and don’t ask anything too invasive.

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