|Informational Interviewing & Job Shadowing
An excellent method for obtaining information about a career is an information gathering interview. This type of interviewing allows you to talk with individuals who currently hold a position in a career field in which you are interested. The contacts you make through utilizing this method can be invaluable to you as you initiate and follow through on your job search.
NOTE: While we encourage you to use interviewing for information as a job search tactic, we further caution you to use it properly. It is solely an information-gathering tool, and you should not confuse the meeting with an employment interview.
WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE AN INFORMATION INTERVIEW?
You should do so because if it is done well it provides an informal dialogue between you and potential employers, and you can obtain useful information that may lead to a job offer. It also offers a comfortable way to begin practice interviewing.
WILL BUSY PROFESSIONALS TAKE TIME TO TALK WITH YOU?
When surveyed, employers would probably indicate that they do not have time for such activity. In practice, however, they usually enjoy discussing themselves, their profession, and the organization. It also gives them a chance to reflect upon their constantly changing needs and ambitions.
HOW DO I ARRANGE A MEETING?
Ask a relative, friend, or acquaintance to help you arrange an interview. They are usually happy to help. If you are the one arranging the meeting and you do not know the individual you are speaking to you may want to begin by saying: "Hello, my name is _________________. I am graduating from Flagler College with a degree in ______________. I am not looking for employment, but I am trying to clarify my career interests. Who would by the best person in your organization for me to talk with regarding what your company does, and what opportunities are available for recent college graduates in this field? I do know your company enjoys an outstanding reputation in _____________and I was hoping for some solid career advice."
PREPARATION FOR THE INTERVIEW:
2. Arrive on time.
3. Have specific questions prepared to ask the individual.
4. Observe the work environment (facilities, equipment, and atmosphere).
5. Observe the kinds of people in the work situation (personality, skills, etc.).
6. Listen carefully and show interest in the individual and the specific information being given to you.
WHAT DO YOU DISCUSS DURING THE INTERVIEW?
2. What steps did you take to enter the field?
3. What kind of skills does the industry look for in job candidates?
4. What training is necessary or provided?
5. What do you enjoy most about your career?
6. What do you like least?
7. What are the responsibilities of an entry level candidate?
8. What is the job outlook for this field?
9. Do you work alone or basically as a team?
10. Is a post graduate degree necessary for advancement?
11. What is the most recognized professional organization in this field?
12. What is a typical work day/week like?
13. Who else would you suggest I talk with?
FOLLOW-UP Be certain to send a thank you note and keep this person in your network!
The job shadow experience follows the same principles as the informational interview except that instead of a simple meeting, you actually attend the work day (all or part) with the person you are shadowing. The set up, preparation and follow-up should all be followed in the same manner as the informational interview.
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