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Job Search and Informational Interviews

Job interviews can be terrifying! Many people believe there is little you can do before an interview to prepare, but in fact there are plenty of ways to be the best you can be on the day.

Informational interviews are conducted when you want to know more about an industry or area of work, and you contact a person who is doing a job that you would like to learn more about. 

For more information, see the following handout.


Informational Interview handout.pdfInformational Interview handout.pdf

More on Interviews​
Before your Interview
Contact the Human Resources department and ask for a job description and find out as much as you can about the interview format.  Get to know the organization by visiting the company’s web site, obtaining information about industry trends, reading related newspaper articles, talking to employees, etc.  Then assess your skills and abilities (ask a friend or co-worker what they perceive as your strengths and weaknesses). 

Practice typical interview questions by finding examples on-line (look for behavioral type questions on Google).  Usually interview questions ask you to:

  • Describe your skills, education and experience and how they relate to the requirements of this position.
  • What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why did you apply for this job and why should we hire you?
  • Give an example of a problem that you faced in your work experience and how you solved it.
Being Interviewed
First impressions are important — pay attention to dress and grooming.  Be on time, act confidently and be pleasant to everyone.  Try to avoid nervous habits (do not hold a pen).  Let the interviewer set the tone – formal or informal.  It is good to bring a copy of your résumé and use it as a reference to jog your memory about important points. 
Stay on topic when answering questions — take the time to think about your answer by writing out the question on a piece of paper before answering.  Be sure to relate your education, skills and experience as needed based on the question asked.
If asked behavioral-based questions, use the S.T.A.R. method to respond:
S: (explain what your responsibility was - or predicament)

T: (outline what steps you saw as necessary for success)

A: (describe how you made a decision and who you included)

R: (were you successful?  Did you accomplish your goals?)
Lastly, always ask questions when given an opportunity — the interview is also a chance for you to get to know the company better.  This is also your opportunity to show that you know what the job is and to find out more details as to what you might be doing. 
After the Interview
Think about your performance in the interview so you will learn, for example, what to avoid/improve on.
If you are not chosen for the position, ask for feedback as it might help you learn where you can improve.  However, be prepared for a generic or vague response.  Nevertheless, the more practice and more interviews you have, the better your performance will become.

A Note about References
References only comes into play after the interview.  References should always be a supervisor or someone who had the authority to fire or fail you. 
Include at least two-three references. 

Bring to an interview a listing of your references that includes their names, positions, company, address, and contact information (phone, e-mail, work address) and a short description of your relationship to them (supervisor, co-worker, etc.).


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