During an informational interview, the person interviewing you will ask questions seeking advice about how to get started to your field. You may be asked something like: “What is the best way to obtain a position that will get me started in this occupation”
Informational interviews are generally conducted by college students or people who are looking to switch career fields entirely, so they may not have the experiences and skills required to be a viable candidate right off the bat. You should be prepared to answer a question like this where someone is trying to learn how to get their foot in the door in your particular industry.
Points to Emphasize
As you are responding to this inquiry, it is a good idea to keep the following things in mind.
- Give your honest opinion of what the interviewer will need to do
- If you want, talk about how other employees got their start
- Your advice can be tailored about your specific company or the industry as a whole
- Discuss how your way of getting into the industry is beneficial
Someone choosing to interview you likely holds your opinion in high regard, so anything you say will be taken seriously.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Giving your honest appraisal about what needs to be done to enter this career field is the best course of action. You just need to make sure to avoid making these small errors.
- Don’t suggest a way that would be irrelevant to getting started in your career
- Avoid not answering the question
- Don’t say, “I don’t know”
- Don’t give a response that is irrelevant to the interviewer’s situation
If the person interviewing you is in his or her 40s, then getting a college degree might not be on the table. Likewise, a college student may not be able to relocate in order to get the experience required. Tailor your response to meet the interviewer’s needs.
Responding to a question about getting started in your industry should be along the lines of:
I think the best thing you can do while still being in college is to get an internship in marketing so that you can build up your list of references and get the real world experience you need. You could also speak to professors within the Marketing or Economic departments of your college to see if you can work with them and gain some valuable insight into the industry.
Everyone has to start somewhere, and by telling the interviewer the best way to get his or her foot in the door, you will be setting them on the right path to a great career.