What To Do And Say During An Information Meeting

Planning for the meeting

Once you have established who you want to contact. You then need to be clear of your objective/s for the meeting.  Generally this should be that you are looking for them to provide you with information, which can advance your job search and also to create a mutually beneficial relationship.  Remember it’s not only what the person can do for you but what you can also do for them that’s important.  If you have conducted research or have met others in their industry or geographic location, you will have valuable knowledge to share.   Don’t undervalue this.

You also need to be clear about the type of role or roles you are interested in. It is preferable not to say you are looking or more than two types of roles as this will sound like you are confused and lack direction. This is not the impression you want to give the person you are meeting.

What to say at the information meeting.
When you meet someone always be respectful of how much time they have.  Frame up the meeting so that the person is clear what you are there for and what you want to achieve.

You might like to say something like

“Thank you very much for meeting with me, I appreciate your time.  You said you could give me 20 minutes, so I will be mindful of how long we talk.  The reason I wanted to meet with you is that I am a really good AAAA, I have XXX years experience working in XXX industry(s) or for YYYY company.  I am looking for my next opportunity and I wanted to learn more about” *your company and what your company looks for in an AAAA to help me better position my skills and experience or your industry as I haven’t worked in it before and I am really interested or how you see the market going for people with my experience or advice about how I could find a role in this area as you have extensive experience and would have worked with many people like me.”

*Select which applies to you, or insert your own objective as it relates to your circumstances.

Once the conversation is flowing you could ask any of the following questions.  Don’t ask them all, there are too many, but select a few, then let the conversation go where it flows.  However, always be mindful of your objective, to get information that can help you get closer to a new job.

  1. In your company what do people in this role find most exciting/challenging/ satisfying?
  2. What do people tend to like the most/ least about this industry / role/ area/ field?
  3. Has the role been impacted by any changes in – technology, competition, outsourcing etc.?
  4. How do you see roles in this area changing in the future?
  5. What challenges would someone have to deal with in this type of role?
  6. What are the key deliverables or expectations of someone in this role?
  7. How did you find your role?  What has been your career path?
  8. What qualities or abilities are important to be successful in this role or industry?
  9. Is there any specific training or educational qualifications that are essential for this role, that I don’t have?
  10. What career path is there for someone in this type of role in your company, in general?
  11. Is this type of role in demand?  Do you think the demand will increase or decrease moving forward?
  12. What advice would you give someone entering into this area?
  13. What salary levels would someone in this type of role receive?
  14. From your experience, when you have seen people in these roles excel, what is that they do or what experience do they have that allows them to be successful?
  15. What types of training do companies generally provide or offer in roles such as this?
  16. What are your thoughts around working on contract, or even volunteering to work in an organisation?
  17. Do you know of any website, publications, associations that could provide me with more information about this area?
  18. If you were to hire someone in a role like this, what would you look for?  What would you be asking them at interview?  What would impress you at interview?
  19. Based on my skills and experience, do you have any advice that could help me find a role?
  20. Do you know of anyone you think I should also talk to?  Are you able to make an introduction for me or may I use your name when I call them.
  21. If you had an opening for someone like me, what recruitment process would you go through?

During the meeting, keep your eye on the time, tell the person when 20 minutes is up. If they are enjoying the conversation (and most people do) they are likely to extend the meeting.  If they have no more time or they would prefer to stick to the timeframe you outlined, they will be appreciative that you stuck to your time promise.

Based on the conversation you will have had, it will be evident that you are looking for a new role. If the person you are meeting has a position for which they deem you suitable, they will mention it to you.  If they have no vacancies at this time, they may ask you to send your resume to Human Resources or to them directly in case a vacancy does arise.  If they don’t mention this, you can either ask if they would like a copy of your resume to keep on file, or include it when you send a thank you email for the meeting.

When you provide a resume, ensure it is only a one page resume that sells your key skills and achievements and the value you offer.  People are more inclined to read one page than your full resume. Your one page marketing resume is essential when networking and it has more impact than a longer resume! Always thank the person, then send a Thank you email, and if you aren’t already, connect on LinkedIn.

What not to say at information interviews
Do not ask people outright if they have a job for you.  When you ask people directly it puts them in a difficult spot, as they may have a job, but think you’re not suited to it, or they may not have a job and feel bad they can’t help you. Either way, you never want to put someone in this awkward position.  When you meet with someone, simply go there with the objective of learning more about them, the role, their organisation and their industry.  When you are curious and listen to the person you are meeting, there is no need to be fearful. If you do a good job in asking interesting questions, the conversation will naturally turn around to you.

Please note!
You haven’t asked for a job, you haven’t been rejected in any way, you have made a new contact and you have gained more information that can help you in your job search.  There is nothing negative about conducting an information interview, so go ahead and give them a go.