Walking the line between job and informational interview
November 12, 2012 1:36 AM Subscribe
What to do in the not-quite-an-informational-interview, not-quite-a-job-interview situation? I have one of these tomorrow and I'm confused about how to approach it. (OK, "terrified of failing" is a better way of putting it.)
posted by schroedinger to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm graduating, and out of the blue a colleague of a close friend of mine told him to let him know if I could use connections or experience. He then followed up to say he doesn't personally have any positions available, but could introduce me to his colleagues (without making it clear whether they have any positions available).
Tomorrow I'll be speaking with him for the first time and meeting with his colleagues. I don't want to be a job-grubber, but I'm not sure this is quite an "informational interview" situation either. I'm also kind of familiar with the answers to the questions they would give for informational interview-type questions anyway. I can think of questions to ask them about their work, but I'm not sure how far I can take that conversation as their knowledge of their field is obviously a lot deeper and more complex than mine--I couldn't carry an entire conversation with them on "talking shop" without it turning into a bunch of relatively simplistic questions on my part. (for what it's worth, they would not expect me to hold their depth of knowledge, but I also don't think they are planning to waste their time giving mini-lecture sessions on their work)
Originally I thought I would wing it: discuss opportunities the field, ask a few questions about their work, hopefully impress them. But I tried that with a phone jobish-informationalish-interview recently and completely blew the whole thing. The conversation was stilted and awkward and I could tell early in the person I was interviewing wanted to leave as soon as possible.
I do fine with straight-up job interviews. I can do a straight-up informational interview. This straddling thing is what's weird and I am not sure what the expectations are for the questions I'm should ask. Any suggestions for how to approach this? Because of the prior failure I'm having some anxiety about this.