Convert Job Interview into Networking Opportunity
Are you looking for an effective job search technique? Try turning a job interview into an informational interview.Yes, I know, the purpose of networking is to get a job interview and secure a job. Why in the world would anybody want to turn a job interview into an informational interview?
Well, have you ever been in a job interview where you just knew that the company was right for you, but the job that you were interviewing for wasn’t? Too embarrassed to answer? No need. Most of us have been there.
Let me guess what you did.
- You turned down the job, probably before it was formally offered to you.
- You complained to your friends that you were more than qualified for the job and that the company was just trying to hire good talent cheaply.
- The rejection put you into a funk, set you on an eating binge and placed your job search into a three-week hiatus.
- The next time you applied to that company for another job, you did not receive an interview. You were probably graced with the anti-halo effect.
- Having rejected you once, the interviewers perceived you as an unfit candidate even for appropriate jobs.
No, I’m not clairvoyant. I’ve been there, done that and heard enough versions of the same story from others. So why do we do it? Because we don’t know any better.
Let me explain with a story.
A couple of years ago my cousin Igor moved here from the old country. I helped him get a job. I thought that he would be grateful, but when I saw him after his first week on the job, he complained that he never got anything good to eat during the working day.
“They’re paying you,” I told him. “So buy your lunch.”
He said he didn’t know how to order.
“Tell the waitress that you want apple pie and coffee,” I said.
The next week he was complaining to me again that he was tired of eating the same thing every day.
“So order a roast beef sandwich and coffee,” I told him.
The next day I passed the restaurant where he ate lunch and saw him eating apple pie and coffee.
“What happened?” I asked.
He had ordered a roast beef sandwich and coffee. The waitress asked if he wanted white or rye bread. Not knowing what to do, he replied, “Apple pie and coffee.”
Not knowing what to do in certain interview situations, we fall back on old behaviors. In the case of interviewing for the wrong job, we decline it and salve our wounded egos by contending that we didn’t want the job anyway.
Next time you find yourself in that situation consider conducting an informational interview.
- Describe your skills to the interviewers.
- Explain that the job that you are interviewing for may not be the best match for your skills.
- Relate to them that although you may not be the best fit for this position, you would really like to work for the company.
- Attempt to get them to agree that you are a good match for the company and to identify in which departments and positions you would best fit.
- Ask them to assist you to identify current or future appropriate positions.
- Keep in touch.
No, I've never gotten a job this way, but three of my clients have. I’ve yet to hear of anyone purposely setting up a job interview to turn it into an informational interview. But then again, Igor now orders a roast beef sandwich on rye, apple pie ala mode and latte.