How to Ask About Job Opportunities During an Informational Interview
In this article, we’ve gathered eight insightful tips from professionals, including a human resources director and a founder, on how to effectively ask about job opportunities during an informational interview. From inquiring through industry trends to balancing curiosity and ambition, these experts provide invaluable advice to help you navigate your career journey.
- Inquire Through Industry Trends
- Showcase Interest in a Specific Role
- Build Genuine Connections First
- Express Interest, Not Eagerness
- Frame the Inquiry Around Growth
- Seek Insider Career Insights
- Time Your Inquiry Carefully
- Balance Curiosity and Ambition
Inquire Through Industry Trends
During an informational interview, it is imperative that you do not directly ask whether the person themselves or the company for which they work is hiring. That is a quick way to turn off the person you are meeting with.
Instead, I recommend you approach the situation by first asking about a new trend or statistic that applies to the industry in which the person operates. From there, you can then ask how the company plans to deal with the new trend, and whether they are hiring anybody.
This is a sort of backdoor way to ask whether the company is hiring, but the person you are meeting with won’t see it that way. They’ll instead see someone who is genuinely curious about the industry and relevant trends.
Showcase Interest in a Specific Role
An informational interview is mostly a meet-and-greet, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be angling for more.
This is a case of “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” so don’t play coy. HR knows you wouldn’t be there if you weren’t interested in a position.
Make the most of your visit by researching the company carefully ahead of your interview. Go in with two or three positions you think you’d be perfect for, and tailor your work history to highlight your appropriateness for these roles. For instance, if you’re in a different industry, let the interviewer know how your skills might translate.
Specificity is key. A general interest in the business won’t set you apart, but asking about a particular department or role makes you look focused and determined.
Build Genuine Connections First
Here’s a tip that’s served well over the years: Focus on building a genuine connection before diving into job-related questions. During an informational interview, start by asking questions like, “Could you tell me more about your career path and how you got to where you are today?” or “What do you enjoy most about working at [Company Name]?”
These questions not only demonstrate interest but also give the other person a chance to share their insights. Once the conversation has flowed for a bit, it’s often more comfortable to ask about potential job openings or advice on how to navigate the application process. The goal is to build a relationship, and job opportunities will be more likely to follow if approached that way.
Travis Lindemoen, Founder, Enjoy Mondays
Express Interest, Not Eagerness
Don’t ask outright. Rather, it’s best to approach after an informational interview casually, requesting that you’d like to sit down and consider more about the company.
You could mention something like wanting to expand upon your skills to take up a specific role in the future, and you’d appreciate having a sit-down to discuss the requirements you’d need to get the role. This makes you appear humble, not overeager, and open to communication.
Frame the Inquiry Around Growth
To subtly ask about job opportunities, frame your inquiry on growth and learning by asking about industry-specific events, resources, organizations, or websites.
For example, “I’m eager to stay updated on [industry name] trends. Are there any particular resources you would recommend to learn more about online and offline resources about specifics in this field, such as its key roles?”
This way, you show your interest and proactiveness while hinting at your job search without coming across as too forward or self-serving.
Seek Insider Career Insights
One personal experience I often share is the power of seeking “insider insights” during informational interviews. Instead of straightforwardly asking, “Are there job openings?” I recommend posing a question like, “What’s the typical career trajectory for someone in my field at your company?”
It’s a softer approach, but equally illuminating. This inquiry fetches you valuable insights into the company’s culture and growth opportunities and signals to the interviewee that you’re contemplating a long-term commitment.
This nuanced question sparked a memorable conversation in one of my own informational interviews, eventually leading to a job offer.
Time Your Inquiry Carefully
An informational interview differs from a regular interview; the same rules don’t apply here. The purpose is to learn about the market and the companies involved. You’re seeking advice on how to improve yourself and your chances of a successful career, so you can’t ask for a job outright.
Wait for the end of the interview and phrase your question in a way that doesn’t make you seem opportunistic. If you don’t, they may become hesitant and won’t open up.
Balance Curiosity and Ambition
From my experience in life coaching and understanding human psychology, I’ve found that the best way to inquire about job opportunities during such a chat is to frame it in terms of personal growth and alignment. Instead of directly asking, “Are there any job openings?” try something like, “Given my passion for mental health and personal development, how do you see someone with my background fitting into your organization?”
By showcasing genuine interest and subtly positioning yourself as a potential asset, you’ll easily catch their attention, demonstrate that you’ve done your homework, and show you’re eager to contribute to their mission. It’s all a delicate balance between curiosity and ambition.