Informational interviews are great for helping someone learn more about a specific career path. If you are asked to sit down for one of these consultations, you should be prepared to answer questions like: “What are the skills that are most important for a position in this field”
An interviewer asking this question is likely trying to figure out whether he or she currently possesses the skills necessary to enter your field or if certain skills need to be acquired. Some variation of this question is certain to be asked during an informational interview because you probably have insight into this industry that could be useful to someone trying to break in. You can tell someone where they need to put their focus in order to enter this field with a good head start.
Points to Emphasize
There are certain aspects of answering this question that you should give attention to.
- Discuss a couple skills that are relevant to your industry
- Focus on your specific company and the industry as a whole
- Talk about what makes those skills important
- If you want, talk about skills for entry-level employees and skills needed to advance upward in the company
If someone asks to talk with you about the field you are in, then there is a very good chance they look up to you and view you as a mentor. An interviewer will take your advice seriously, so put some thought into your response.
Mistakes You Should Avoid
Your response should be based on what you have seen in your field and your own personal experiences, so avoiding these mistakes should be simple.
- Avoid mentioning skills that aren’t relevant to your field
- Don’t talk about skills without also talking about how they are useful
- Don’t solely talk about skills that are needed for high-level positions
- Don’t say you are unsure of the skills required
You should already know what is required of new hires because at one point in time, you were new to this field. Therefore, you should know what is expected of others who are applying for a position.
Your response to a question about skills should go something like this:
Communication skills are vital. You need to be able to talk effectively to people face-to-face and know how to respond to emails quickly and efficiently. You also need to be willing to put in extra work when you’re just starting out. You need to show you’re willing to go above and beyond in order to advance upward in this company or any other.
Discussing required skills is a great way for the interviewer to figure out if this career field is truly right for him or her