If you are asked to sit down for an informational interview, you should be prepared to answer questions about how to succeed in your career field. Therefore, you can expect to be asked something like: “What are the major qualifications for success in this occupation”
Many people who conduct informational interviews are trying to figure out if this specific career path is right for them, so it stands to reason that they would ask something about what it takes to not only get a job in your industry but to ultimately advance through the ranks. Chances are good that you hold a high-ranking position within your organization, so you should have a good idea of what is needed to be promoted within a company like yours.
Points to Emphasize
Your response should include the following aspects about how to advance within the field.
- Talk about your own personal qualifications or the qualifications you have seen in others
- Talk about how people advance through your company or related companies in your field
- Discuss both skills and experiences
- If you want, talk about the advancement opportunities that are available in your occupation
An interviewer asking this question is obviously interested in becoming a major player within the industry, so your advice can be highly beneficial to the interviewer in achieving that goal.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
There is not really a bad way to talk about what is needed to succeed. You just need to be careful of these small errors.
- Don’t be vague with your response
- Don’t say you are unsure of what qualifications are needed
- Don’t focus solely on the qualifications you possess (also talk about what you have seen in others)
- Avoid talking about whether or not the interviewer has these skills
You may know a lot about the person interviewing you or you may know very little. You just need to talk about what is needed to succeed in the abstract instead of focusing on whether or not the interviewer has what it takes to succeed.
Answering this question should go along the lines of:
The determination to go above and beyond is really what’s needed to advance through the ranks. In this company, all the higher-ups, myself included, have put in a good amount of time to make sure work got done on time and efficiently. Sometimes that meant staying a couple hours extra at the end of the day or getting some work done at home. It can be tough starting out, but in the end, it’s worth it.
Being driven is a highly sought after trait, and someone who would ask this question probably has it in abundance.