Informational interviewers are a way for people to learn about a specific career field to see if it is right for them. A question that is typically asked during these types of interviews is: “Can you suggest some ways a person could obtain the experience necessary to enter this field”
This question is a way for the interviewer to see if he or she already has the experience necessary to make the switch or if he or she needs to get some special training. This question is not only asking what skills and experiences are useful; it is also asking where to find the opportunities to acquire those traits. This question is also meant to gauge what attributes are important when applying to jobs at your company or ones similar to it.
Points to Emphasize
Keep the following points in consideration when you are giving your response to this question.
- Mention what skills or experiences are important when looking for new hires
- Suggest one or two ways the interviewer could go about getting those skills
- If the interviewer already has the experience required, say so
- You can make your recommendations specific to your company or to the industry as a whole
The interviewer will take any advice you give him or her seriously, so give your honest appraisal of what they need to do to be a viable candidate in your field.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
It is hard to answer a question like this incorrectly, so just look out for these small mistakes.
- Don’t avoid answering the question
- Avoid saying, “I don’t know”
- Don’t give off the impression that once the interviewer gains certain experiences that he or she will automatically get a job
- Don’t tell the interviewer to get irrelevant skills or experiences
If the interviewer is committed about getting into your line of work, then he or she will take any advice you give them seriously. Guide the interviewer onto the right path so that he or she will take all the right steps.
Answering a question about gaining relevant experiences should go something like this:
I would suggest continuing your studies until you get a Bachelor’s Degree. At our company, we don’t hire anyone without a college degree. While you’re still in school, I’d suggest getting an internship or part-time job at an accounting firm in order to gain some real world experience in this field. That will make you a highly viable candidate once you enter the job market.
If someone has chosen to interview you, then they obviously hold your opinion in high regard. Help your interviewer to the best of your ability, and someday you could have a highly skilled employee at your company.