Informational interviews are often conducted so that the person doing the interviewing can figure out whether he or she is capable of switching to a new career path. Therefore, you may be asked something like: “How can I assess whether or not I have the skills needed for a position such as yours”
Answering this question sufficiently requires two parts. First, it requires you to understand what attributes are necessary in order to get a high-ranking position within your career field. Then, you need to be able to tell the interviewer what they need to look for to see if they have what it takes to succeed. Some people may already have the skills required while others will need to work at acquiring those attributes.
Points to Emphasize
When examining a person’s skills, it is important to keep the following points in mind.
- Discuss what skills are required to get a position like yours
- Briefly talk about what you had to do to gain those skills
- Discuss with the interviewer about whether or not they have those skills needed
- Talk about what can be done to gain those skills
Someone asking this question likely has a long ways to go before they could even be in the running for a position like yours, but it is still good to learn what will eventually be expected of them.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
When discussing the skills needed for your field, it is a good idea to avoid making these simple errors.
- Don’t refuse to answer the question
- Don’t be overly negative if the interviewer lacks those skills (always be constructive)
- Avoid saying that you don’t know what skills are necessary
- Don’t gloss over the question
The person interviewing you is not necessarily gunning for your specific job. They are just trying to learn what attributes need to be cultivated when they enter the industry.
Your response to a question about job skills should go something like this:
The most important skill needed for someone in my job position is the ability to lead a team. This requires knowing when to get input from my subordinates and when to implement a more top-down approach to management. You should review specific leadership styles and see if you apply any of those skills into your current job. If you don’t, then you should look into taking on more responsibilities and leading special teams to gain the experience required.
No matter what kind of career the interviewer is currently in, there is bound to be some valuable insight you can provide to switching fields.